Dismissing media reports that he was disappointed that no posts were allotted to the Janata Dal (United) in Sunday’s reshuffle, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said there had been no question of his party getting a seat in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, the Hindustan Times reported.
“We had learnt about the move to give representation to the JD(U) in the Union council of ministers through the media,” Kumar is believed to have said. “There was no such talk of joining any ministry.”
“If you [the media] are going to speculate, at least ask the JD(U) first; our way of working is transparent,” NDTV quoted Kumar as saying.
On Sunday, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government revamped the Council of Ministers in the third Cabinet reshuffle in as many years. Three ministers were promoted to the Cabinet rank – Nirmala Sitharaman was appointed defence minister, becoming the first woman to hold the post since Indira Gandhi; Piyush Goyal was given the Railway Ministry; Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was elevated to the post of minister of parliamentary affairs. Nine new faces were inducted as ministers of state in the council.
Before the reshuffle was announced, it had been widely speculated that Kumar’s JD(U) would be allotted a ministry as just four weeks ago, he had parted ways with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress – his partners in Bihar’s former ruling alliance – to form the government with the BJP. After the reshuffle, people close to the JD(U) chief had claimed that Kumar was disappointed over his party’s non-inclusion in the Council, NDTV had reported.
Denying the speculation, Kumar on Monday said it had given the “darling of the media” Lalu Yadav, the RJD chief, a chance to rake up the issue, The Times of India reported.
Kumar also took a dig at Yadav’s BJP Bhagao, Desh Bachao (drive the BJP out, save the country) rally on August 27, calling it a “family function” that had nothing political about it. Several Opposition leaders had attended the event, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.