Modi will lean on core group to fill top berths

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Former bureaucrats, technocrats among contenders for Cabinet positions

Amid hectic consultations over the composition of the new Union Cabinet, Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi on Sunday took out time to meet BJP patriarch L.K. Advani at his residence here.

Later in the evening, Mr. Modi drove to the residence of senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi for a discussion on the government formation ahead of the BJP’s Parliamentary Party meeting on May 20 where Mr. Modi will be formally elected as leader. He is expected to lean heavily on his inner core group comprising trusted lieutenant Amit Shah, who as in-charge of Uttar Pradesh delivered the maximum number of seats, party president Rajnath Singh, senior leader Arun Jaitley, and former party chief Nitin Gadkari, who is believed to be close to the RSS.

Roles of Mr. Advani, Dr. Joshi and Sushma Swaraj would also be decided through consultations, sources said. Reports indicate Mr. Advani could be given the Lok Sabha Speaker post. Ms. Swaraj could be accommodated in one of the top four ministries.

Sources said Mr. Modi, who relied on a small, core team of officials for his Lok Sabha polls success, may appoint former bureaucrats and technocrats to key positions. A revamp of key ministries is also likely, with pressure on Mr. Rajnath Singh to join the new government with Home or Defence portfolio. Another leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad, may also get a key ministry.

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner, Satya Pal Singh, who quit the police service to contest the election and defeated RLD chief Ajit Singh in Baghpat, could also get a key role. Other names doing the rounds for Cabinet berths include senior leaders like M. Venkaiah Naidu, Kalraj Mishra, Ananth Kumar, Sumitra Mahajan, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and the former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh.

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