Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met BJP chief Amit Shah at this official residence to finalise the members of the new Council of Ministers including those who will be part of the Cabinet. Sources said that during the meeting, which lasted for about five hours, the two leaders have finalised the names of new ministers. Speculations are rife that Shah would also join the Cabinet, but BJP sources have dismissed the rumors as mere "speculations".
It is expected that PM Modi and around 65 ministers would take oath on Thursday. Sources said that the new ministry would be a mix of experience and youth, and the BJP would also like to strike the right regional and caste balance with it. PM Modi and Shah will meet again in the coming days for portfolio allocation.
Sources said that key ministries like home, finance, defence and external affairs may see some changes. Arun Jaitley, who is not keeping well, may not take charge as finance minister. It is expected that the prime minister would not go for major change in important ministries and may repose faith in old ministers like Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari etc. It is, however, expected that West Bengal, Odisha and the Northeast where the BJP performed exceeding well in Lok Sabha election 2019, will find good representation in the new ministry.
The oath ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday evening at 7 pm and it will be attended by leaders from BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations. The list includes Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and also Nepal and Bhutan.
“The following leaders have confirmed their participation at the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister: Mr Md Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh; Mr Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka; Mr Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of the Kyrgyz Republic; Mr U Win Myint, President of Myanmar; The Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius; Rt Hon KP Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal; Dr Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan; and Mr Grisada Boonrach, Special Envoy of Thailand,” a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao are also expected to attend the ceremony.