- Only BJP faces included in PM Modi's Cabinet reshuffle
- Nitish Kumar "disappointed" there was no call from PM Modi: sources
- Another expansion will include allies like JDU: BJP sources
Sources close to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said he's "disappointed" that despite joining the BJP's national coalition about two weeks ago, "there was no call from PM Modi" discussing the reworking of ministries.
Sources in the BJP countered that there will be another expansion or reshuffle soon that will include allies like Mr Kumar. The Bihar Chief Minister's Janata Dal United has two Lok Sabha MPs and seven Rajya Sabha members. He was reportedly hopeful of being allocated one Minister of State slot and another in the cabinet.
The Shiv Sena, another ally of the BJP, has 18 MPs. Uddhav Thackeray, who is Sena chief, curtly told reporters that "we are not hungry for power" when asked why the party's quota of just one minister has not been increased. The Sena boycotted today's oath-taking ceremony of nine new ministers (four other ministers including Nirmala Sitharaman were promoted to the cabinet.)
"This cabinet reshuffle and the one before this were only BJP reshuffles not of NDA," complained Sena leader Sanjay Raut, alluding to other parties of the BJP's national coalition being excluded from today's changes.
The Sena has been an ornery partner for the BJP; the parties together govern Maharashtra but their leaders in the state frequently castigate each other publicly.
Mr Kumar is seen as a trophy acquisition for the BJP. In July, he ended his alliance with the Congress and Lalu Yadav in Bihar to form a new government with the BJP. His switching of sides whacked the opposition's plans to form a large alliance to take on PM Modi in the general election of 2019 because he was among its main anchors.
Former partner Lalu Yadav was quick to jab at Mr Kumar, declaring that the Chief Minister has been insulted by the BJP. "He did not even get invites for today's swearing-in," Lalu Yadav said. "One who betrays his own people will not be taken in by others."