Union ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and R C P Singh submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, a day before the completion of their Rajya Sabha term, sources said.
During a cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Modi lauded both Naqvi and Singh for their contributions to the country during their ministerial tenure, sources said.
Former bureaucrat and once a confidant of Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar, Singh resigned on his birthday, one year after joining the Union Cabinet from his party’s quota.
He was wished by Prime Minister Modi on his birthday in the morning.
With their term as Rajya Sabha MPs set to end on Thursday, both ministers submitted their resignations to fulfil the constitutional obligation as they will cease to be parliamentarians from Friday.
After Naqvi was not nominated in the recent Rajya Sabha polls, there has been speculation that he is being considered for the post of vice president, the election for which is scheduled to be held on August 6, or some other key position.
Singh had fallen out of favour with Nitish Kumar and was denied a Rajya Sabha ticket. With his resignation, there are only two ministers at the Centre from BJP allies — Ramdas Athawale from the RPI(A) and Anupriya Patel from the Apna Dal.
Naqvi was holding the charge of Minority Affairs Ministry and Singh was Union Steel Minister. It was yet to be declared who would get the charge of these ministries.
With the Union Cabinet now having two more vacancies and no representation from the BJP’s biggest ally JD(U), there is a possibility of a cabinet expansion-cum- reshuffle in near future. However, there was no official word on it so far.
With Naqvi’s term ending, no Muslim among BJP MPs
With the Rajya Sabha term of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ending on Thursday, the BJP will have no Muslim MP among its 395 Members of Parliament.
Naqvi, who resigned from the Cabinet on Wednesday, was among the three BJP Muslim MPs whose term ended during the recent round of Rajya Sabha polls to 57 seats across 15 states but none of them were renominated by the party.
The term of two others, former Union minister M J Akbar and Syed Zafar Islam, has already ended.
The opposition has been accusing the BJP of not giving adequate representation to Muslims, but the saffron party has maintained that its MPs work for all communities and are not representatives of any religion.
Over the decades, Muslim BJP MPs have had a nominal presence in Parliament. Naqvi himself has been a Rajya Sabha member for three terms, Najma Heptulla for two terms and Shahnawaz Hussain, currently a minister in the Bihar government, was elected to Lok Sabha twice. Naqvi was a Lok Sabha member for one term as well. Sikander Bakht, a founder member of the party and one of its first three general secretaries, was a Rajya Sabha member twice.
It will be after a considerable period of time that the BJP will not have any Muslim MP. With Naqvi quitting as a minister on Wednesday, this will be a rare occasion when the Union council of ministers will not have a Muslim member.