Modi 2.0: Amit Shah, S Jaishankar, 55 others make the cut in NDA balancing act; JP Nadda, Suresh Prabhu miss out

Narendra Modi has taken good care of caste, age and regional profile, as also merit in the new Cabinet which saw several former ministers being dropped and inclusion of new faces including BJP president Amit Shah and ex-foreign secy S Jaishankar

Sanjay Singh May 30, 2019 23:25:33 IST
Modi 2.0: Amit Shah, S Jaishankar, 55 others make the cut in NDA balancing act; JP Nadda, Suresh Prabhu miss out
  • Number of ministers in the Council has gone up significantly from 45 in 2014 to 57 in 2019 with 24 Cabinet, 9 MoS (Independent Charge) and 24 MoS ministers

  • Induction of Amit Shah in the Union Cabinet is the biggest news of Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony, followed by inclusion of ex-foreign secretary S Jaishankar

  • Modi has taken good care of caste, age and regional profile, as also of merit of newly inducted ministers

  • Several ministers from NDA-I govt such as Suresh Prabhu, Maneka Gandhi, Radhamohan Singh, Mahesh Sharma, Uma Bharti, JP Nadda and others have been dropped

At the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan, Narendra Modi along with his Council of Ministers took oath of office and secrecy for the second consecutive full majority term of the National Democratic Alliance. In many senses, the event, size, shape and the way the swearing ceremony for Narendra Modi 2.0 government took place, broke grounds of the first Modi government.

Five years ago on 26 May, 2014, Modi had taken over as the Prime Minister of India at 6 pm in presence of leaders from SAARC nations, this time around, perhaps because of prevailing heat wave conditions in New Delhi, he took oath at 7 pm in the presence of leaders of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), Mauritius and Kyrgyzstan. The guest list this time of 8,000, was far bigger than last time.

Modi 20 Amit Shah S Jaishankar 55 others make the cut in NDA balancing act JP Nadda Suresh Prabhu miss out

Ram Vilas Paswan exchanges greetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior leader Rajnath Singh after he took oath as a Cabinet minister. PTI

In May 2014, 45 ministers — 23 Cabinet (including the prime minister) and 22 Minister of State had taken oath — with Prime Minister Modi. On 30 May 2019, the number of ministers in the Council has gone up significantly from 45 in 2014 to 57 in 2019 with 24 Cabinet ministers (not counting Modi), nine Ministers of State (Independent Charge) and 24 Ministers of State taking oath at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Induction of Amit Shah in the Union Cabinet is the biggest news of Thursday’s swearing-in ceremony. Shah has been Modi’s trusted party colleague for over two decades and has arguably been most successful president of the BJP. While Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj, the two ministers who had been part of all powerful Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

Earlier, former finance minister Arun Jaitley had opted out of being considered for a berth in the new Cabinet for health reasons, Sushma Swaraj (external affairs minister) was dropped from the Cabinet to make way for a new talent. Swaraj had earlier announced that she wouldn’t be contesting the 2019 parliamentary elections due to health reasons, but she had not said she was retiring from politics and didn’t not give any indication about her preferences for a ministerial post.

The list of high prominent ministers dropped or not making way in the Modi 2.0 government is long. Likes of Suresh Prabhu, Maneka Gandhi, Radhamohan Singh, Mahesh Sharma, Uma Bharti, Satpal Singh, KJ Alphons, Jayant Sinha, JP Nadda and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore too were dropped. Manoj Sinha had lost election from Ghazipur and hence didn’t find his name in list of ministers sworn-in on Thursday.

Though Nadda has been left out of the ministry, it's possible that he could be appointed as the BJP president. Among the NDA allies, JD(U) was also left out in the new Modi Cabinet. However, JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar was present at the oath-taking ceremony.

Another big surprise, besides Shah, was the inclusion of former foreign secretary S Jaishankar as a Union Cabinet minister. He was among the first 10 ministers who took oath of office on Thursday. Jaishankar’s inclusion is an indication that in this term, Modi is keen to give preference to domain expertise. The other new faces in Cabinet rank are Arjun Munda, Pamesh Pokriyal Nishank, Prahlad Joshi, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Arvind Sawant. Giriraj Singh and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, each of them being gaiven a Cabinet rank in the new Council of Ministers.

Modi has taken good care of caste, age and regional profile, as also of merit of newly inducted ministers. Smriti Irani, 43, is the youngest minister, followed by Minister of State Anurag Thakur, 44, and Ram Vilas Paswan, 72, is the oldest minister.

All eyes are now on portfolio allocation. That would give an idea whether Modi is going for restructuring of ministries and who is he trusting to what kind of ministerial assignments.

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