Opening The Cookie Jar: Modi Cabinet Rejig



The Narendra Modi Government on this Sunday, September the 4th, 2017 announced a major cabinet reshuffle. The reshuffle was being kept in abeyance for a long time now, which is ow an eventuality giving mixed signals about the whole exercise and its timing. The timing is one when the Modi cabinet is receiving flak for its economic policies, making new friends with the JD(U) and Doklam, following the flight mode of the PM to China for the BRICS summit immediately after giving effect to the reshuffle.

The narrative of the reshuffle starts with not only the induction of 9 new faces with a multi faceted political presence but also the interesting promotion of a few ministers not very well-known to key posts.

Yes, we are talking about Mr Rathore, Mr Goyal and Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, who bagged key portfolios and some new faces namely Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Shiv Paratap Shukla, Virendra Kumar, Anantkumar Hegde, Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Satya Pal Singh, and Alphons Kannanthanam who rose from national obscurity to being office bearers.

The narrative though doesn’t end here, the ministers that gracefully resigned from their portfolios such as Mr Suresh Prabhu and Ms Uma Bharti amongst others had to bite the bullet because the social outlook had been keeping grim about their performances in their concerned ministries. Also the upcoming assembly elections in various states have also reflected their thrust in the choices made by the Modi-Shah duo.

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses with new members of cabinet after the reshuffle at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo (PTI9_3_2017_000041B)
Modi-Shah have been known to have been doing log hours of consultations and preparing strategies before giving shape to their recent political manouvre, the Cabinet Reshuffle.

Ms Uma Bharti, yes the firebrand lady from Bundelkhand, who was made the torch-bearer of the populous ‘Namami Gange’ project had been receiving flak not only from the media but also the judiciary for not upping the ante against pollution of the river Ganges; while Mr Prabhu, despite landmark customer satisfaction record had to bite the bullet for perpetual accidents on tracks of the Indian Railways.

Most likely the cabinet reshuffle has been one of the most eyed exercises but more than bringing in the good news, it sounds more of like a method of placating the regional, caste and theological clamours. Though Mr Shah has been trying to balance scales while maintaining that performance oriented development is the key goal of their government, yet the reshuffle has cast serious aspersion on their promises.

The most remarkable upgrade has been assigning the ex-Industries and Commerce minister, Ms Sitharaman as the defence minister. The nationalists wished for a tank to be installed at the JNU campus and, ironically, they were given the entire Ministry of Defence.

The states of Rajasthan, Karnataka and Orissa are up for elections shortly, and the BJP has raised the faces hailing from the respective states in a move that unfortunately looks like a move to appease the electorate.

Mr Modi started off with one of the smallest cabinets and grew to a 76 member strong cabinet which is accredited some of the worst self-imposed financial emergency like conditions in the country.

The portfolio allocation in the latest cabinet reshuffle doesn’t really ring bells when it comes to the ground of intellectual capacity to deliver. The slogan of small government and maximum governance has become a saying of bygone ages.

The narrative continues when Mr Dharmendra Pradhan and Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are given the Oil ministry and minority affairs. It resonates with the ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ by according representation to the concerned diversity in a myopic fashion, over professional acumen. The ministries are virtually being handed out to those people who may actually be apathetic to the grade of performance and industrious expertise demanded when the Dragon knocks at Doklam and reminds how dilapidated our systems are that we need a lady from the business corridors to make our defence ministry an industry!

The grant of drinking water and drainage to Ms Uma Bharti again is a bewildering moment where one may expect more of Pujas to deal with these issues while anything concrete takes shape.

The expectations from a leader named Modi is a real challenge when he seems to be faltering on his choice of brothers in arms on his mission to evolve India. He is being perceived to be by far a professional leader with serious CEO like qualities, still somewhere one’s intelligence may desert one when such accidents happen. People like Mr Puri, who have a potential to perform are not rewarded with rel responsibilities while many not so deserving faces get to deal with the core sectors of the economy. The organization is marred by loyalties to the one who accelerates their growth.

The narrative ends with Austin’s assumption as to the ‘King does no wrong’ but a King who has to worry about votes may do anything!

Our narrative still sticks to the hope factor when it comes to the actual tasks that have been laid out for all the new faces by Modi ji himself through his various initiatives, implementation skills of those in-charge that needs to tapped the most whichmay bear rich dividends for the BJP and accelerate the nation’s growth in the key sectors under the command of the new faces and the promotees.

#Views Expressed are Purely Personal.


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