Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Cabinet expansion

Narendra Modi expanded his Council of Ministers on 9/11/2014. He added 21 ministers; four of cabinet rank, three of Minister of State with independent charge rank and 14 of Minister of State rank.
Manohar Parrikar was the first to take oath. He is not an MP. He was Chief Minister of Goa. He became Defence Minister. Arun Jaitley had held Defence as additional portfolio. Francis D’Souza was Deputy Chief Minister of Goa. He wanted to be Chief Minister. That did not happen. Laxmikant Parsekar became Chief Minister and was present for swearing-in of Manohar Parrikar.
Suresh Prabhu was next. He is not an MP. He was member of Shiv Sena. Uddhav Thackeray did not want him as minister. Suresh Prabhu quit Shiv Sena, joined BJP and became Railways Minister. He was Power Minister in Atal Behari Vajpayee’s cabinet. He had plans to reform power sector. Bal Thackeray wanted him to think about elections and had him replaced.
Jagat Prakash Nadda was a contender for the post of President of BJP. He is an MP. He got Health. This was held by Harsh Vardhan. The controversy regarding corruption in Medical Council of India and harassment of whistleblower could be the reason why Harsh Vardhan lost Health. AAP issued a statement against Nadda’s induction which said, “It is shocking that despite written evidence being available with the Prime Minister’s Office about the role of Nadda in getting whistleblower officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi removed as Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS, he had been made a Cabinet minister.”
Birender Singh was in Congress till some months back. Before Lok Sabha elections he joined BJP. He is not an MP. He got Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Water & Sanitation.
Bandaru Dattatreya got Labour.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy is a familiar figure on TV channels. He got Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
Mahesh Sharma got Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi got Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs.
Ram Kripal Yadav was in RJD till some months back. He joined BJP and won from Pataliputra. He got Drinking Water.
Haribhai Chaudhary got Home.
Sanwar Lal Jat got Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Mohanbhai Kundariya got Agriculture.
Giriraj Singh got Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
Hansraj Ahir got Chemicals & Fertilisers.
Ramshankar Katheria got HRD.
Yalamanchili Satyanarayana Chowdary got Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.
Jayant Sinha got Finance. He is son of former minister Yashwant Sinha. Some said his appointment shows dynastic rule in BJP. Congress claimed his appointment was violation of Model Code of Conduct in Jharkhand which has state elections. Ajai Rai said “Our Pradesh general secretary has written to the Election Commission of India, pointing out that the elevation gives an undue advantage to one political party ahead of the elections.”
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore got Information & Broadcasting.
Babul Supriyo Baral got Urban Development, Urban Poverty Alleviation and Housing. He is Asansol MP. He is the first playback singer to become a member in Union Cabinet.
Niranjan Jyoti got Food Processing.
Vijay Sampla got Social Justice and Empowerment.
For some ministers there were changes in portfolios.
Arun Jaitley lost Defence, got Information & Broadcasting.
Harsh Vardhan lost Health, got Science & Technology and Earth Sciences.
Prakash Javadekar lost Information & Broadcasting.
Nitin Gadkari lost Rural Development. He held it as additional charge after Gopinath Munde’s death.
D. V. Sadananda Gowda lost Railways, got Law and Justice. Railways is considered fifth in importance. Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs are considered more important. There was controversy about Sadananda Gowda’s son’s marriage to an actress.
Harsh Vardhan lost Health, got Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.
Ravi Shankar Prasad lost Law and Justice. Status of the Constitutional Amendment on appointment of Supreme Court and High Court Judges is not known. Half of the states had to ratify it.
Vijay Kumar Singh lost North East Region.
Shripad Naik lost Culture.
I am not in favour of non-MPs becoming union ministers. It is strange that three ministers of cabinet rank and not MPs. It is strange that Narendra Modi did not find any MP suitable to become Defence Minister. Vijay Kumar Singh was army chief. He could have been made Defence Minister. What was the need to give I&B to Arun Jaitley? He was I&B Minister and banned adult films on TV. It will be nice if he reverses ban on adult films and allows telecast of adult films on free-to-air channels between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on pay channels any time. Finance Minister’s job is a full-time job. Twice he fell sick and spent time in hospital, once up to one month. Prakash Javadekar was doing a good job as I&B Minister. Perhaps he lost I&B because he did not oblige people who wanted ban on Rang Rasiya.
Smriti Irani continues to be HRD Minister. There was speculation that she will be shifted to I&B.
Names like Anurag Thakur, Chandan Mitra, Ramdas Athavale and S. S. Ahluwalia did rounds.
Except for Y. S. Chowdary new ministers are BJP members.
There was suspense about Shiv Sena member Anil Desai’s swearing-in. He had left Bombay. He landed in Delhi. He was told to return. It seems Uddhav Thackeray wanted Anil Desai be made cabinet minister. Modi offered MoS rank. It is said on Friday and Saturday Anant Geete went to 7 RCR. Modi did not meet him. Modi did not take Uddhav’s calls. Uddhav held a press conference at 7.15 p.m. and said if BJP takes NCP support directly or indirectly Shiv Sena will sit in the opposition. Soon Devendra Fadnavis said BJP will no longer hold discussions with Shiv Sena on ministers and portfolios.
Some talk of state and community representation. A minister is for the whole country. Talk of representing state or community is improper.
Some had admired Modi’s small or compact cabinet. Now it has 66 members. It remains to be seen whether more ministers will result in better governance. Meanwhile Modi’s Clean India Campaign has become a farce in some places. People do it for TV cameras. Satish Upadhyay and Shazia Ilmi did it in Delhi outside India Islamic Cultural Centre. In Mathura Hema Malini said she will not clean. She held broom for photographs.
Modi has shown it is his choice of ministers, ranks and portfolios. He will not allow allies to dictate terms to him.

Updated: November 11, 2014 — 7:41 am

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