It's BJP's cabinet reshuffle, not NDA's, say miffed allies

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta

On Saturday, Bihar Chief Minister maintained that they had no intimation about the reshuffle.

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.

With no news on the changes to take place in the much-anticipated Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday morning, even till the eve before it, NDA partners such as the JD (U) and Shiv Sena admitted they were also in the dark.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also said in Mumbai that he had received no information from the BJP. I have not enquired about it (from the central BJP leadership). But neither the Sena, nor the JD (U) were consulted for the reshuffle or invited for the ceremony. "It is restricted to only meetings of allied parties", Raut told reporters.

The stress on performance in Sunday's Cabinet reshuffle is matched by the BJP's growing confidence in winning elections without its allies and constantly worrying about caste considerations. Even the Sena's lone Cabinet minister in the Modi government, Anant Geete did not attend the ceremony. "The message that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving out is that being an alliance partner alone does not guarantee you a position in the government", said Sanjay Kumar, a New Delhi-based political analyst and director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Yesterday, the third reshuffle of the Union Cabinet, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi saw the promotion of honest and hardworking ministers, and the induction of new faces. After Shah arrived, BJP Lok Sabha MP Pravesh Verma called on him at his residence, fuelling speculation of his induction into the Council of Ministers.

"The BJP remembers us only when it needs our support for a presidential or vice-presidential election, or, for passing a constitutional amendment in Parliament", he added.

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