After the meeting of the Janata Dal (United) [JDU or JD(U)] national executive committee, the party’s general secretary KC Tyagi has made a big statement that they are “ready” to join the Narendra Modi Cabinet. The readiness is, however, qualified. Tyagi says the JDU must get proper representation in the central dispensation. This development is being seen as the JD(U)’s necessity to strengthen the alliance with the BJP for the Bihar Assembly election slated for 2020, as the smaller party stands no chance of a respectable score without an alliance whereas going back to the RJD now looks untenable.
The national executive meeting of the JD(U) was held in Delhi on Wednesday. At the meeting, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was re-elected as the JDU president. He took over for the second time as the party’s head. The upcoming Bihar Assembly election was discussed in the meeting, lending a deeper meaning to the statement of Tyagi.
JDU ready to join Union Cabinet
After the meeting, Tyagi said that the JD(U) had refused the offer of a ministerial post when the Cabinet was formed after the Lok Sabha election. The JDU is ready to join the Union Cabinet if their representation in proportionate to their strength in Parliament. Tyagi said that his party had appointed Bihar’s deputy chief minister from the BJP to honour the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar.
Tyagi’s statement necessitated by time
However, there is nothing new in the statement of Tyagi. The JD(U) had turned down the offer for the post of a junior minister during the swearing-in period of Modi 2.0 as it was demanding a proportional representation. Even today, the party is ready to join the Cabinet only if it gets a proportional representation.
However, the timing of Tyagi’s statement is important. It comes at a time of speculations over Prime Minister Modi contemplating another Cabinet expansion. And the context of the Bihar Assembly election is obvious.
A section of the JD(U) in Bihar has been critical of Nitish Kumar. Recently, many BJP leaders were seen openly making statements against the chief minister on the issue of waterlogging in Patna. The situation deteriorated so much that the JDU general secretary demanded intervention from the prime minister and BJP president Amit Shah.
Shah had salvaged the situation by saying that the BJP would contest in the Bihar Assembly election as a part of the NDA under the local leadership of Nitish Kumar. Tyagi, with his latest statement, could be asking the BJP to translate Shah’s assurance into action.