National Affairs

Its All About BJP: No NDA Minister In Modi Cabinet

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is India’s largest political grouping on paper, but with the demise of Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday and the Shiromani Akali Dal’s exit from it last month, all berths in the Union Cabinet are occupied by the Bharatiya Janata Party. There is only one non-BJP minister in the entire 51-member strong union council of ministers: Republican Part of India (Athawale) chief Ramdas Athawle (the minister of state for social justice and empowerment). This is the first time since 1977 that a coalition government at the Centre has all Cabinet ministers from one party. However the BJP’s national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said the party “has always respected its allies and their valuable contribution cannot be undermined”. In the first Narendra Modi government (2014-19), five of the BJP’s alliance partners were inducted in the council of ministers with Rambilash Paswan, Annant Geete and Harsimrat Kaur Badal in the Cabinet. The BJP won 282 seats of the NDA’s 336 in that election. Last year, Geete resigned from the Cabinet after the Shiv Sena dumped the BJP to go with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party to form the Maharashtra government. Last month, an angry Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the NDA protesting the three new farm laws. And Lok Janshakti Party patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan died after prolonged illness on Thursday.

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