Published: Mon, September 04, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Cabinet expansion? No one called me, says Uddhav Thackeray

Cabinet expansion? No one called me, says Uddhav Thackeray

Sanjay Raut, a senior leader of the Shiv Sena, another key constituent of the NDA, said, "This cabinet reshuffle and the one before this were only BJP reshuffles not of the NDA". Sources say Thackeray is unhappy that his party may at best get one additional place while the JD (U) is likely to get two despite having fewer members in the Lok Sabha.

The JD (U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who recently ditched the Grand Alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, to join hands with the BJP, was openly mocked at by RJD leader Lalu Prasad.

The cabinet reshuffle on Sunday saw a clear political message being sent out-that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is reasserting itself within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as the numbers get stacked in its favour. Leaders from both the JD (U) and the Shiv Sena said that the rejig was an "internal reshuffle" of the BJP.

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There were reports that Sena MPs had had a discussion with party chief Uddhav Thackeray over demanding more ministerial berths from the BJP. They came to our door in President and vice-president polls. On Saturday, Nitish Kumar said there had been no consultation between the JD (U) and the BJP over the cabinet expansion and reshuffle. "We neither asked for anything, nor did we expect anything", Raut said.

In two of the nine major changes in the Cabinet, Union Minister Piyush Goyal has been given the charge of Railway Ministry, while Nirmala Sitharaman has been assigned the charge of the Defence Ministry, making her only the second woman to hold the post since late Indira Gandhi. "Whenever the BJP wants support like in Presidential election or in Parliament, we are remembered", said Sena MP Sanjay Raut. "Sena is rooted in people and we always stand on road for the people". "We will talk about this (about not being invited for the swearing-in ceremony) at the right time", said Mr Raut.

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