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Cabinet Reshuffle: Was it Required at All?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits an exhibition on the venue for foundation stone laying ceremony of Trade Facilitation Center and Crafts Museum and Inauguration of Powerloom Service Center, at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on November 07, 2014. Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Ram Naik and the Minister of State for Textiles (I/C), Parliamentary Affairs, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Santosh Kumar Gangwar are also seen.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits an exhibition on the venue for foundation stone laying ceremony of Trade Facilitation Center and Crafts Museum and Inauguration of Powerloom Service Center, at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on November 07, 2014.
Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Ram Naik and the Minister of State for Textiles (I/C), Parliamentary Affairs, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Santosh Kumar Gangwar are also seen.

Though the cabinet reshuffle is often the Prime Minister’s
prerogative, the way 21 new ministers were inducted and some old gurads were shunted out of plum ministries shows that some extraneous factor have really influenced the whole expansion drama on Sunday.

Giving in to pressure from allies was another angle of the reshuffle but pleasing too many claimants within the party is another striking feature. From the prime minsiter’s view point, bringing in Manohar Parrikar, Suresh Prabhu and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi would have balanced the forces within but the allotment of portfolios doesn’t echo similar view.

Otherwise, inducting 21 new faces and awarding four of them the cabinet rank would, no doubt, consolidate the gains of the Lok Sabha elections by giving representation to various regions and communities, but shifting some vetrans from their portfolios to others doesn’t augur well.

Major shifts on Sunday saw Karnataka leader D.V Sadananda Gowda being shunted to law and justice, while his performance in the Railway ministry was blemishless to warrant the sudden change. It also indicates the northern lobby known for its desire to hold on to the Railways ministry.

In all, Maharashtra seemed to have been placated this time with Suresh Prabhu brought in despite his erstwhile leader Uddhav Thackeray’s rumblings. Shiv Sena further displayed its displeasure by recalling its trusted nominee Anil Desai from the swearing-in at the 11th hour. With Suresh Prabhu inside BJP, it is easy for Modi counter-check Shiv sena in Mumbai but pleasing him with the Railway Ministry holds ground against Karnataka.

Manohar Parrikar has always been a top performer and the former IITian is an asset to reply upon always for the Prime Minister but making him to head the defence ministry is a half-baked decision. Defence portfolio requires both sophistication and aggressive leadership and Parrikar lacks the second quality. During the peace time, he would emerge an excellent leader but any war-like situation would put his skills to test and may require the Prime Minister himself to step in.

Another sour point in the entire canbinet juggling was removal of Harsh Vardhan, who was known for his healing touch to his patients as well his unaltered focus on the nation’s health. He was one of the top performers after Arun Jaitley during the last four months of Modi cabinet’s governance but his shift to sciences is aimed at diverting his devotion elsewhere. Perhaps, Amit Shah wanted a friend in the health ministry than a professional doctor. Unless Jagat Prakash Nadda proves equally assertive, health ministry may suffer for some time.

Sulking Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray described Prabhu’s joining the BJP as “unfortunate” but indicated that Anant Geete, party’s sole MP in the Modi government, will continue for the time being. Otherwise, Thackeray put a condition that his party will sit in opposition in Maharashtra if BJP takes Sharad Pawar’s NCP support.

Giriraj Singh, 61, who courted controversy with his comment that “those who oppose Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan” and was also booked for the hate speech, was awarded for his loyalty to the leader with a minister of state position.

Keeping in mind next year’s elections in Bihar which are crucial for the BJP, the council has three new faces from the state – Rajiv Pratap Rudy (MoS independent charge), Ram Kirpal Yadav and Giriraj Singh (both MoS), all belonging to different and numerically significant communities. Union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Ravi Shankar Prasad are also from Bihar.

But giving Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is a Rajya Sabha member, the minorities ministry MoS under Najma Heptullah shows that Muslims are still not placated by Narendra Modi. Here is the full list of Narendra Modi’s Cabinet:

CABINET MINISTERS

1.Rajnath Singh: Home Affairs

  1. Sushma Swaraj: External Affairs Overseas Indian Affairs
  2. Arun Jaitley: Finance Corporate Affairs Information & Broadcasting

  3. M. Venkaiah Naidu; Urban Development Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Parliamentary Affairs

  4. Nitin Jairam Gadkari: Road Transport and Highways Shipping

  5. Manohar Parrikar: Defence

  6. Suresh Prabhu: Railways

  7. DV Sadananda Gowda: Law & Justice

  8. Sushri Uma Bharati: Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation

  9. Dr Najma A Heptulla: Minority Affairs

  10. Ramvilas Paswan: Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

  11. Kalraj Mishra: Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

  12. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi: Women and Child Development

  13. Ananthkumar: Chemicals and Fertilizers

  14. Ravi Shankar Prasad: Communications and Information Technology

  15. Jagat Prakash Nadda: Health & Family Welfare

  16. Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati: Civil Aviation

  17. Anant Geete: Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

  18. Harsimrat Kaur Badal: Food Processing Industries

  19. Narendra Singh Tomar: Mines Steel

  20. Chaudhary Birender Singh: Rural Development : Panchayati Raj Drinking Water and Sanitation

  21. Jual Oram: Tribal Affairs

  22. Radha Mohan Singh: Agriculture

  23. Thaawar Chand Gehlot: Social Justice and Empowerment

  24. Smriti Zubin Irani: Human Resource Development

  25. Harsh Vardhan: Science and Technology Earth Sciences

MINISTERS OF STATE

  1. General V.K. Singh: Statistics and Programme Implementation (Independent Charge) External Affairs Overseas Indian Affairs

  2. Inderjit Singh Rao: Planning (Independent Charge) Defence

  3. Santosh Kumar Gangwar: Textiles (Independent Charge)

  4. Bandaru Dattatreya: Labour and Employment (Independent Charge)

  5. Rajiv Pratap Rudy: Skill Development & Entrepreneurship
    (Independent Charge) Parliamentary Affairs

  6. Shripad Yesso Naik: AAYUSH (Independent Charge) Health & Family Welfare

  7. Dharmendra Pradhan: Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge)

  8. Sarbananda Sonowal: Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge)

  9. Prakash Javadekar: Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge)

  10. Piyush Goyal: Power (Independent Charge) Coal (Independent Charge) New and Renewable Energy (Independent Charge)

  11. Dr. Jitendra Singh: Development of North Eastern Region
    (Independent Charge) Prime Minister’s Office Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Department of Atomic
    Energy Department of Space

  12. Nirmala Sitharaman: Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge)

  13. Dr. Mahesh Sharma: Culture (Independent Charge) Tourism
    (Independent Charge) Civil Aviation

  14. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi: Minority Affairs Parliamentary Affairs

  15. Ram Kripal Yadav: Drinking Water & Sanitation

  16. Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary: Home Affairs

  17. Sanwar Lal Jat: Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation

  18. Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya: Agriculture

  19. Giriraj Singh: Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises

  20. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir: Chemicals & Fertilizers

  21. G.M. Siddeshwara: Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises

  22. Manoj Sinha: Railways

  23. Nihalchand: Panchayati Raj

  24. Upendra Kushwaha: Human Resource Development

  25. Radhakrishnan P.: Road Transport & Highways Shipping

  26. Kiren Rijiju: Home Affairs

  27. Krishan Pal: Social Justice & Empowerment

  28. Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan: Agriculture

  29. Manuskhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava: Tribal Affairs

  30. Raosaheb Dadarao Danve: Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

  31. Vishnu Deo Sai: Mines Steel

  32. Sudarshan Bhagat: Rural Development

  33. Prof. (Dr.) Ram Shankar Katheria: Human Resource Development

  34. Y.S. Chowdary: Science and Technology Earth Science

  35. Jayant Sinha: Finance

  36. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore: Information & Broadcasting

  37. Babul Supria (Babul Supriyo) Baral: Urban Development Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

  38. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti: Food Processing Industries

  39. Vijay Sampla: Social Justice & Empowerment.

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