- The meeting was held ahead of oath ceremony on Thursday
- There might be some changes in the key ministries
- Most ministers may stay but small changes are likely
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday met for five hours to finalise the members of the union cabinet, who will take oath with the PM on Thursday. There have been talks about whether Mr Shah would join the cabinet, but sources have called it "speculation". A section in the BJP wants him to remain as party chief ahead of crucial assembly elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana. A victory in these states will take the BJP past the half way mark by 2020. With assembly polls in a string of states - elections in Delhi and Bihar will be held next year - the party needs full attention now, sources indicated.
There might be some changes in the key ministries of home, finance, defence and external affairs. There is much discussion around the finance ministry. For Arun Jaitley, who is unwell, there are speculations that he is unlikely to return as finance minister, sources say. However, Mr Jaitley was seen holding a meeting with finance ministry officials a few days ago.
Sources indicated no major change is likely in the line-up after that. Most ministers may stay on but small changes are likely to ensure representation of Bengal, Odisha and the northeast - new zones that have embraced the party.
The BJP's Bihar ally Lok Janshakti Party passed a resolution, saying party patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan will remain its face in the government. Mr Paswan had earlier said that he would like to see his son, Chirag Paswan, in the cabinet. Chirag Paswan told NDTV that his father shall represent LJP in the cabinet.
The oath ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday evening will be attended by leaders from BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations. The list includes Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and also Nepal and Bhutan.
The foreign ministry said all nations have confirmed their attendance.
Key opposition leaders like West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal are also likely to attend the ceremony. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao would also be present on the occasion.