NEW DELHI, May 19 � Hectic lobbying for ministerial berths has begun, with senior BJP leaders and allies rushing to meet would-be Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Leaders made a beeline for Gujarat Bhavan at Chanakyapuri in South Delhi, not far from the Prime Minister�s official Race Course residence. Modi was closeted with senior aide Amit Shah and was later joined by close confidant Arun Jaitley.
Senior BJP leaders including Sushma Swaraj, Gopinath Munde, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Najma Heptullah, CP Thakur and Anurag Thakur met Modi. Allies like Vaiko, chief of the MDMK and Jaganmohan Reddy of Seemandhra, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan and his son Chirag and Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel met Rajnath Singh today.
The BJP Parliamentary Party is also meeting tomorrow at 12 noon in the Central Hall of the Parliament, where Modi would be formally elected leader of the party. A meeting of the NDA is scheduled tomorrow after the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting.
After that, accompanied by senior leaders like national president Rajnath Singh, LK Advani and Jaitley, Modi is likely to call on President Pranab Mukherjee to formally stake claim to form government.
Meanwhile, the elected BJP MPs of the North-east including Assam, have started arriving in the national capital. Bijoya Chakravarty told this newspaper that she has not met any senior leader or lobbied for any ministerial berth. In case of Assam one post of MoS may be allocated, given the encouraging performance of the party. It would be interesting to watch whether Modi opts for a young MP like Sarbananda Sonowal or prefers an experienced leader like Bijoya Chakravarty.
Alliance partner PA Sangma, accompanied by his daughter Agatha Sangma called on Modi on Sunday evening. Nagaland Chief Minister N Rio also met Modi on Sunday. Interestingly, both Sangma and Rio are vying for a Cabinet berth.
Speculation was rife over allocation of portfolios, while Rajnath Singh reportedly wants to continue as the BJP national president, while Modi�s team prefers to bring him in either as the next Home or Defence Minister. Rajnath Singh may just remain the party president for some more time and not join the Cabinet immediately. This after a section of the RSS wanted Rajnath Singh to continue as the BJP president.
Among the surprise visitors to Gujarat Bhavan on Monday was former union minister Arun Shourie, who had left BJP and gone into virtual retirement. His sudden entry into the national politics has given rise to speculation that Modi is keen to have him as his Finance Minister.