On Thursday, when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) opted out of the newly constituted Modi government, over what the party termed “symbolic representation”, the other NDA ally, Apna Dal did not get even the proverbial symbolic representation, i.e. not even a single cabinet berth. This exclusion has left the Apna Dal “hurt and upset”, say the sources.
Apna Dal leaders were sure that Anupriya Patel would not only be included in the government but would also be elevated to, at least, minister of state with independent charge, say the sources.
Anupriya Patel was Minister of State for Health in the previous Modi government.
Anupriya had been intimated that she would be included in the next cabinet expansion, most probably before the Monsoon Session, say the party sources.
While Anupriya and her husband Ashish Singh, who is the party president, could not be contacted, other Apna Dal leaders said that the manner in which the BJP had treated the party was “unacceptable”.
“We contested two seats in 2014 and 2019 and we won both. Which other party can boast of a 100 per cent success rate? We were promised more cabinet position in the Yogi government but that has not happened.
“We have just one cabinet minister in UP. The Apna Dal has never driven hard bargains or voiced its displeasure but that does not mean that we should be taken for granted,” said an Apna Dal legislator who did not wish to be named.
At least one member from each of the parties in alliance with NDA was included in the ministry. The Janata Dal (United), however, opted out.
Nitish Kumar said his party will not be a part of the new government as it did not want “symbolic representation”.
“They (the BJP) said that they want to give one cabinet rank to every ally. Then we said that we will discuss it with the party members and then only we can say anything over this symbolic representation.
“I spoke to my party leaders and people and they were not agreeing to one berth and the symbolic representation. And this we communicated to them (BJP). They also called up in the morning and then we again conveyed our decision,” said Nitish Kumar while addressing the media in New Delhi.
He, however, maintained that the JD-U will remain part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). JD-U is in power in Bihar along with the BJP.
(With agency inputs)