Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expanded his cabinet. A performance-based overhaul would have meant a change of guard in Health, Agriculture, Telecom and perhaps the Human Resource Development ministries. But it seems the Prime Minister wants to give a long rope to his handpicked team to prove their mettle.
Nineteen ministers have been inducted in the second expansion of the Union Cabinet.
Only one minister of state, Prakash Javadekar, has been promoted to the Cabinet rank in the latest exercise given his work in cleaning up the mess left behind by the UPA government in the Environment Ministry. It was widely expected that Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan would also get a promotion for their stellar performance but this didn’t materialise.
Three factors have played a dominant role in dictating the choice of new minsters: social engineering calculations in key poll-bound states, a need to bring in experience and expertise and necessity to correct the under-representation of states that overwhelmingly voted for the BJP in 2014.
Some of the notable inclusions in the ministry who bring in experience and expertise include:
1) Mr. PP Chaudhary: A senior Supreme Court advocate, with over four decades of experience in constitutional litigation.
2) Mr. Subhash Ram Rao Bhamre: A well known doctor with a super specialisation in cancer surgery.
3) Mr. MJ Akbar: A veteran editor and a widely respected journalist.
4) Mr. Arjun Ram Meghwal: A former government officer from Rajasthan with rich administrative experience and outstanding parliamentarian.
5) Mr. Anil Madhav Dave. A veteran Sangh organiser who played a key role in Narmada River Conservation movement.
6) Mr CR Chaudhary: A Jat leader from Rajasthan who has studied rural development at the University Of Birmingham.
Four of the newly inducted ministers of state come with experience of holding key portfolios in the state governments.
1) Mr. Ramesh Jigajinagi has been the Cabinet minister of Home in Karnataka.
2) Mr. Purshotam Rupala has been the Cabinet minister of Agriculture in Gujarat.
3) Mr. Jaswantsinh Bhabhor has been the Minister of Tribal Affairs and Rural Development in Gujarat.
4) Mr. Mahendra Nath Pandey has been the Minister of Urban Development in Uttar Pradesh.
Two ministers who were a part of the Vajpayee government have now been included in the current exercise.
1) Mr. Faggan Kulaste has been the Minister of State for Tribal Affairs.
2) Mr. Vijay Goel has been the Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports.
An attempt has been made to bring in young talent into the ministry.
1) Ms. Anupriya Singh Patel, a Lady Shri Ram College graduate, will play a key role in BJP’s outreach to non-Yadav OBCs, especially in the eastern Uttar Pradesh.
2) Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya has spent a long time in Gujarat’s agricultural sector, including being the head of Gujarat Agro-Industries Corporation.
The expansion is also a clear pointer towards Modi-Shah’s strategy of consolidating and expanding the social base of the BJP gained during 2014 general election.
Twelve new ministers come from the Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes.
As far as geographical diversity is concerned, nineteen ministers come from more than 10 states: Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Assam.
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