Cabinet Expansion: A Clever Mix of Youth & ExperienceIt is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to periodically reshuffle or expand his cabinet of ministers. It is as much to reward performers as to weed out shirkers. It is also to bring in new blood or to fill in positions vacated due to whatever reason. In India, this exercise assumes greater importance due to the calculations of caste and regional representations.
By Sunil Garodia
Hence, the latest expansion by Prime Minister Modi, ahead of the important polls in Uttar Pradesh, has been much speculated in the media. In the end, Modi has inducted 19 new faces, dropped 5 junior ministers and elevated Prakash Javadekar to full cabinet rank for his excellent work in the climate change field.
Inducted in the cabinet are M J Akbar (RS, MP), former editor and author and Anupriya Patel (LS, UP)of the erstwhile Apna Dal of UP (it has now merged with the BJP). The others are Ramdas Athawale (RS, Maha), Vijay Goel (RS, Raj), Rajen Gohain (LS, Assam), Anil Madhav Dave (RS, Guj), Parsottam Rupale (RS, Guj), J S Bhabhor (LS, Guj), A R Meghwal (LS, Raj), Dr. M N Pandey (LS, UP), Ajay Tamta (LS, Uttarakhand), Krishna Raj (LS, UP), Mansukh L Mandaviya (RS, Guj), C R Choudhary (LS, Raj), Subhash Bhamre (LS, Maha), P P Choudhary (LS, Raj), Faggan S Kulaste (LS, MP), S S Ahluwalia (LS, WB) and Ramesh C Jigajinagi (LS, Karnataka).
A quick look at the list tells one that out of the 19, 6 are from the Rajya Sabha and 13 from the Lok Sabha, rubbishing reports that most inductees would be from the upper house. Also, 13 are from BJP ruled states with 4 from Gujarat, 4 from Rajasthan, 2 from Maharashtra, 2 from MP and 1 from Assam. Contrary to speculation that there would be too many ministers from poll-bound UP, the PM has inducted just three from the state. The new inductees are a clever mix of youth and experience and professionals and grassroots politicians. The dalit and OBC factor has also been kept in mind for the UP polls. The best thing is that almost all have a clean image and are considered to be go-getters in party circles. The hidden hand of RSS is not overtly visible. The only thing that can be criticized is the need to have three Rajya Sabha MPs from Gujarat.
After two years, it is imperative that Modi quickens the pace of things he wants to get done to deliver on the promises he made. To do so, he needs to have a proper team in place. People have been saying that there is a lack of talent in the BJP and its allies. But the PM has found 19 new people who can be expected to carry out the tasks assigned to them with a fair degree of efficiency. The wait is now for the distribution of portfolios, where a few of the existing ministers can face a rejig.