Ramdas Athawale sole representative of NDA allies in Modi govt after Paswan's demise
New Delhi, Oct 09: Following the death of LJP leader and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, the Union Cabinet is left with no representation from NDA allies, while Ramdas Athawale of Republican Party of India (RPI) is the only member in the Union Council of Ministers from an ally party in the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena), Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal) and Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party) were representatives of NDA allies in the Union Cabinet when the Modi 2.0 government returned to power in 2019 following Lok Sabha elections.
While the Shiv Sena quit the NDA in late 2019, SAD left the alliance recently over farm bills.
Athawale is a Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Another key NDA ally, the JD (U) had kept itself out of the government.
Besides Prime Minister Modi, a total of 57 ministers -- 24 Cabinet, nine Ministers of State (with Independent charge) and 24 Ministers of State -- had taken oath as members of the Union Council of Ministers on May 30, 2019.
Following the resignations of Sawant and Badal and the death of Paswan, there are 21 Cabinet ministers.
With the recent death of Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, the number of ministers of state has also come down to 23.
As per the Constitution, the total number of Union ministers, including the Prime Minister shall not exceed 15 per cent of the total number of members in the Lok Sabha.
PM Narendra Modi can have as many as 80 ministers in the 543-member Lok Sabha.