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Home / Politics / News /  BJP clears the air with NDA allies, inducts three leaders in new council

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has signalled that its ties with its partners in the National Democratic Alliance are on the mend by including three leaders from the Janata Dal (United), Apna Dal and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) in the council of ministers sworn in on Wednesday. Two of them have been inducted as cabinet ministers.

This is the first time the government will have a minister from the JD(U), an ally with which the BJP runs a coalition government in Bihar. There was speculation that there were differences between the two over the number of ministerial berths, but as things stand, R.C.P. Singh of the party was sworn in as cabinet minister.

Also sworn in as cabinet minister was the LJP’s Pashupati Kumar Paras who is entangled in a feud with his nephew and Lok Sabha member of Parliament (MP) Chirag Paswan for control of the party. Paswan has already approached the Delhi high court saying Paras cannot be sworn in as a member of the LJP because he (Paswan) represents the party.

Still, Paras’s inclusion cleared the air on LJP-BJP ties, which came under a cloud ahead of the Bihar election after Paswan attacked JD(U) leader and chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Anupriya Patel, a Kurmi leader of Apna Dal, which is a crucial ally of the BJP in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, was also sworn in. She was the minister of state for health and family welfare in 2014 when the BJP first came to power under Narendra Modi. Patel’s entry is seen as an outreach to other backward classes in Uttar Pradesh which goes to the polls next year.

After the exit of two of its oldest allies—the Shiv Sena in 2019 over power sharing in Maharashtra and the Shiromani Akali Dal in 2020 over farm laws—the BJP was accused of not taking on board its partners’ views.

The absence of allies from the council of ministers cemented the perception that there were fissures within the NDA. After the death of LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan in 2020 the Union cabinet had no representation from the allies—the only non- BJP member in the council of ministers was the RPI’s Ramdas Athawale.

Political commentator Abhay Deshpande said the BJP is making an effort to strengthen its ties with allies because of the 2024 general elections.

“Right now they have the mandate but after 10 years (in power), there will be a number of issues that the BJP will have to face, such as anti-incumbency, the impact of covid-19 on the economy and in such a scenario, they will need the allies," he said.

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