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Analysing PM Narendra Modi's Cabinet Expansion, in Five Key Points

Is PM Modi's mega Cabinet overhaul an attempt to portray BJP's 'all-encompassing backward-party' image?

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Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

During the mega overhaul of PM Narendra Modi's Council of Ministers, several newly-allocated portfolios in the Cabinet were announced. Many new faces took oath, as several portfolios were rejigged.

In the 77-member strong Council of Ministers, there are now 30 Cabinet ministers, two Ministers of State with independent charge, and 45 Ministers of State.

Several heavyweight ministers like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Prakash Javadekar, Ramesh Pokhriyal, Santosh Gangwar, and Babul Supriyo were dropped from the Cabinet, while several new faces, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, were inducted.

CABINET RESHUFFLE: WHO GOT WHAT?

Several existing ministers got new or additional portfolios. Many new ministers have been inducted. Here's who got what:

  • Newly-appointed Ashwini Vaishnaw got Ministry of Railways, IT and communication

  • Newly-appointed Mansukh Mandaviya got Ministry of Health, Chemical Fertilizers

  • Newly-inducted Jyotiraditya Scindia got the charge of Ministry of Civil Aviation

  • Newly-inducted Ramchandra Prasad Singh is the new Steel minister

  • Newly-appointed Narayan Tatu Rane is now Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

  • Dharmendra Pradhan got Ministry of Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

  • Hardeep Puri will be the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Housing and Urban Affairs

  • Anurag Thakur got Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, alongside Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports portfolio

  • Kiren Rijiju got the crucial Ministry of Law and Justice

  • Former Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal got the charge of the Ports, Shipping and Waterways portfolio, alongside the AYUSH ministry

  • Ministry of Food Processing Industries has gone to Pashupati Paras

  • Piyush Goyal retains Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, alongside Textile Ministry

  • Smriti Irani retains Ministry of Women and Child Development

  • Amit Shah will look after the newly-formed Ministry of Cooperation, in addition to handling the Ministry of Home Affairs.

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CABINET RESHUFFLE: KEY FACTORS?

Is the prime minister's new cabinet aimed at better governance or is there a bigger political signaling at play here? Has the mega rejig been done in an attempt to project BJP's all-encompassing 'backward party' image?

Here are the key factors behind the Cabinet reshuffle and expansion:

  1. At least 47 ministers belong to the Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, and Tribes in the cabinet. This is their highest ever representation in any cabinet. This has been done to uplift BJP's 'welcoming of backward party' image. Besides caste-based representation also determines how people vote in elections

  2. States where Assembly polls are due next year have been given special prominence. Seven ministers have been inducted from Uttar Pradesh, six have been inducted from Gujarat, one minister each from Uttarakhand and Manipur have been included. Anurag Thakur from Himachal has been promoted

  3. By offering a key ministry to Jyotiraditya Scindia, who jumped ship from Congress, BJP has sent a clear message to Opposition that BJP is 'welcoming of newcomers'

  4. Amid reported dispute with BJP high-command, Karnataka CM Yediyurappa aide Shobha Karandlaje has been inducted into the Cabinet, as a sign of truce

  5. Amid the ongoing LJP crisis, giving ministerial position to LJP rebel Pashupati Paras has proved to be poetic justice for JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar. BJP, which has been known for in-fighting and disputes with allies, has sent a message to the Opposition by keeping allies happy with the Cabinet rejig.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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