Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah met ahead of the new cabinet’s swearing-in.


New Delhi, May 30:

Hours ahead of the formation of the new government and swearing-in ceremony, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at PM’s official residence, in all likeliness to decide the composition of the new cabinet.

In addition to Shah meeting Modi–for the third time in past three days–the ministers selected for oath of office will meet Modi at 4.30 pm Thursday at his residence, PTI reported quoting sources.

On Wednesday, Modi held a marathon meeting with Shah as he gave final touches to the shape of his government.

The possibility of Shah entering the Cabinet in an important political portfolio like Finance or Home is considered high, given the series of successes through his organisational abilities for the BJP in the elections in the last five years topped by the massive mandate the party got in the Lok Sabha elections.

If Shah joins the government, then J P Nadda and Bhupender Yadav are seen as top choices for heading the party, reports said.

There will be another vacancy in the important Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) if Sushma Swaraj, who held the External Affairs portfolio, does not make it to the Cabinet as she did not contest elections.

On Wednesday, senior leader Arun Jaitley had written to PM Modi conveying his decision to opt out of the Cabinet on health grounds.

Jaitley’s decision to opt out has fuelled speculation about who will get the coveted portfolio with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who filled in for Jaitley and presented the populist pre-election budget, being seen as a key contender.

The BJP has refrained from making any official comment about the likely members of the government, with its leaders insisting that it is the prime minister’s prerogative.

Senior party leaders like Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar, Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan and Smriti Irani, are likely to join the second Modi government after being its members in its first avatar.

About 60 ministers may take oath.

BJP allies like Shiv Sena, JD(U), AIADMK, LJP, Akali Dal and Apna Dal are also set to be represented in the government.

Parties like Sena and JD(U) may get two berths as they are the largest constituents of the ruling National Democratic Alliance after the BJP, while others may get one berth each.