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‘He was cabinet minister, accepting it will be demotion’: NCP declines MoS berth for Praful Patel, decides to wait for cabinet expansion

NCP chief Ajit Pawar said that they did not feel right to take the Minister of State with independent charge as Praful Patel had served as a cabinet minister in the central government earlier

Hours before the swearing-in ceremony of the third Modi government, NDA ally Nationalist Congress Party declined the post of Minister of State with independent charge offered to Praful Patel. Therefore, the NCP leader will not be taking oath today evening. The party refused to accept the MoS position and demanded a cabinet berth, saying their expected combined numbers in parliament would make them eligible for a cabinet ministry.

The party has decided to wait to join the govt after BJP said that their demands could be considered at a later stage, when the union cabinet is expanded.

NCP leader Praful Patel said on Sunday that accepting the position of Minister of State (MoS) with independent charge in the Union Cabinet will be considered a demotion for him, as he was earlier a Cabinet Minister in the UPA Government headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“Last night we were informed that our party will get a Minister of State with independent charge. I was earlier a Cabinet Minister in the Union Government, so this will be a demotion for me. We have informed the BJP leadership and they have already told us to just wait a few days, they will take remedial measures,” Praful Patel told reporters.

During the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government let by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Patel was the cabinet minister for the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

Maharashtra Deputy CM and NCP chief Ajit Pawar also said, “Praful Patel has served as a cabinet minister in the central government and we did not feel right in taking Minister of State with independent charge. So we told them (BJP) that we are ready to wait for a few days, but we want a cabinet ministry. We are going to attend the swearing-in ceremony today…”

He further said, “We have one Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha MP today, but in the next 2-3 months we will have a total of 3 members in the Rajya Sabha and our number of MPs in Parliament will be 4. So we said we should be given one (cabinet ministry) seat.”

Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis confirmed the development and said that Praful Patel’s name was finalized for the post of independent charge (MoS) Minister, adding that in the coalition government, certain criteria are fixed for the post of minister, and those criteria cannot be changed for one party.

“NCP was offered an independent charge (MoS) minister post by us. Praful Patel’s name was also final. But he remains a cabinet minister. NCP leaders were of the opinion that he could not be made a state minister. In the coalition government, certain criteria are fixed for the post of minister, and those criteria cannot be changed for one party. So this time, he could not be included in the Union Cabinet. But he will be considered in the future,” he said.

NCP chief Ajit Pawar said that they did not feel right to take the Minister of State with independent charge as Praful Patel had served as a cabinet minister in the central government earlier.

“Praful Patel has served as a cabinet minister in the central government and we did not feel right taking the Minister of State with independent charge. So we told them (BJP) that we are ready to wait for a few days, but we want a cabinet ministry. They said okay and we junked their offer of Minister of State with independent charge. Today we have been called at 7:15 for the oath-taking ceremony and we are going as well as part of the NDA,” he said.

Earlier, ahead of his swearing-in ceremony, Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi on Sunday interacted with members of Parliament who are likely to be inducted into his Cabinet and Council of Ministers.

The PM-designate hosted a customary high tea at his residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in the national capital before the grand ceremony this evening.

A video of the interaction at the Prime Minister’s residence this afternoon Modi was seen briefing the incoming ministers, setting the tone for the government’s agenda and priorities moving forward.

BJP leaders Manohar Lal Khattar, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal, Mandaviya, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat were seen attending the meeting and can be seen as a certainty in the new government, sources said.

LJP (Ram Vilas) chief Chirag Paswan, Rajnath Singh, Kiren Rijiju, Jyotiraditya Scindia, were among others who arrived for the tea meeting.

PM Modi will take the oath of office at 7.15 pm today along with his council of ministers in a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) unanimously passed a resolution to elect Narendra Modi as their leader on June 5.

Around 1,100 traffic police personnel of the Delhi Police have been deployed and an advisory has been issued to the public for the traffic movement route arrangements have been made for the delegates as part of the arrangements for Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony on Sunday.

As per the results announced by the Election Commission of India on Tuesday, the BJP won 240 seats and the Congress 99 seats. BJP had won 303 seats in the 2019 general elections and 282 seats in the 2014 general elections.

(With inputs from ANI)

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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