‘Modi Ki Sena’: Meet the New Ministers of Modi 2.0 Cabinet
From Amit Shah’s debut to Smriti Irani’s elevation, here’s all you need to know about the ministers of Modi 2.0.
The Ministers of Modi Sarkar 2.0 have been allotted their portfolios. Surprises, continuity, some moving up, some down – it's all there. Let’s meet Team Modi 2.0.
The Top Portfolios
Amit Shah is India’s new Home Minister, not Finance Minister as some thought.
However, with the loyal Nirmala Sitharaman now being made India’s Finance Minister, it's possible that the remote control for the Finance Ministry may well be with Amit Shah.
Former Home Minister Rajnath Singh is now the Defence Minister, replacing Nirmala Sitharaman.
The surprise minister, S Jaishankar, has unsurprisingly been made the Foreign Minister.
Which means none of the really big portfolios for Nitin Gadkari! He may have been looking at a promotion after the exit of Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, but that has not happened.
Gadkari remains the Road Transport and Highways minister, exactly as he was in the earlier Modi sarkar. He will also be handling the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
Smriti Irani, after giving the BJP it's biggest symbolic victory – defeating Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi has got a promotion – she gets Maneka Gandhi’s Ministry of Women and Child Development, and retains the Textile Ministry.
Ravi Shankar Prasad also holds onto his earlier post as Minister of Law and Justice along with Communications and Information Technology.
Piyush Goyal may have expected the Finance Ministry, but still has a good deal with two big ministries: Railways and Commerce.
Another technocrat whom Modi has placed faith in is Hardeep Puri – he has multiple ministries – with the Minister of State (Independent charge) as Minister of Civil Aviation, the Minister of State (Independent charge) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs, and the Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
For those interested in sports, there’s a new Sports Minister; as Rathore exits, Kiren Rijiju has been given the post.
Apart from Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, both JP Nadda, the former Health Minister and Maneka Gandhi, the former Minister for Women and Child Development, didn't get a berth either, but it is speculated that the party has some equally important roles lined up for them. Many are expecting JP Nadda to become the next BJP president.
Some other previous ministers who have been left out this time include Radha Mohan Singh, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Mahesh Sharma, Jayant Sinha, SS Ahluwalia, Vijay Goel, KJ Alphons and Anant Kumar Hegde.
Be prepared to see some of them taking on bigger roles in their respective states, especially Rathore, Alphons and Hegde.
Twenty ministers are first timers – the biggest, of course is S Jaishankar, but there’s also Pralhad Joshi and Anurag Thakur.
Forty-three-year-old Smrti Irani is the youngest Cabinet Minister. The Cabinet itself has fewer women this time – just 3 against 6 last time.
What Did the Allies Get?
The Janata Dal (United) won 16 Lok Sabha seats but decided to stay away from the government reportedly because the BJP was offering it just one Cabinet berth.
AIADMK’s sole MP and the son of Tamil Nadu Deputy CM, Raveendranath Kumar, wasn’t given a place either.
While the Akali Dali has just one minister like last time – Harsimrat Badal – the BJP has given positions to two of its own Punjab faces, Hardeep Puri and Som Prakash.
Similarly, from the Shiv Sena only Arvind Sawant managed to make the cut. This appears to be the BJP’s way of restricting the Sena to just Mumbai, and projecting its own faces from rest of the state.
The treatment given to the allies is a clear message from the BJP that they are completely at PM Modi’s mercy.
Maximum representation in the Cabinet is from the state of Uttar Pradesh with nine MPs, while Maharashtra gets the second highest representation with eight ministers.
Surprisingly, Bengal, where the BJP is trying to dislodge the the ruling TMC, has been given just two MoS slots: Babul Supriyo and Deboshree Chowdhury.
There is no minister from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, where the NDA was almost wiped out.
Similarly, there are only two ministers from the Northeast – Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal Pradesh, and Rameshwar Teli from Assam.
Representation of Minorities and Dalits
Only three ministers belong to religious minorities. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is the only Muslim and there are two Sikhs, Harsimrat Badal and Hardeep Puri. Similarly, there are just two Adivasi ministers – Faggan Singh Kulaste from MP and Arjun Munda from Jharkhand. This means majority of the ministers are either from the Upper Caste or are OBC Hindus.
But the big takeaway is that with Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari being the only ministers with some clout independent of Modi, power in the government will get even more consolidated in the hands of the PMO and Amit Shah than Modi’s first tenure.
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