Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government is electorally stronger than in 2014 and cabinet is up for reshuffle and expansion in a few days’ time, one can expect surprises and strategic appointments from the prime minister and BJP chief Amit Shah.
Narendra Modi government has been running short of hands for a while now. The buzz around the reshuffle started when the country was left without a full time defence minister after Manohar Parrikar was sent off to head the Goa government. Arun Jaitley has been filling in the post since March.
Sources say the reshuffle would affect around 24 ministers. In total, the cabinet will be reshuffled between 25 ministers. Narendra Modi is definitely thinking on merging few ministries for better governance and reducing the count of ministers are concerned.
People are speculating that fertilizer and agriculture ministries can be merged, railways and surface transport may be made one and similarly planning and programme implementation may be brought under one umbrella. If a major change happens in this area, that would be in railways and surface transport.
The top on the priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be to appoint a full time Defence Minister. Arun Jaitley may be given full charge of the defence ministry, with both China and Pakistan needling India, while the finance ministry may go to power minister Piyush Goyal. Another sources states that, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe could be heading the defence portfolio, owing to his clean image and RSS backing, while Jaitley may retain finance.
Arun Jaitley is the biggest mystery of the Narendra Modi government. Jaitley has complete control over the power corridor. Today, the biggest challenge in this cabinet reshuffle is whether Jaitley should be given finance ministry or defence ministry or whether he should be entrusted with the responsibility of both. In this government, Jaitley has the biggest say after Amit Shah.
Major changes are expected in Maharashtra with Devendra Fadnavis being seen as a possible central minister. The state’s PWD minister Chandrakant Patil could head the government in the state, according to the sources.
The railway minister Suresh Prabhu offering to resign after two major train accidents within days of each other, the long overdue reshuffle of Cabinet portfolios seems imminent. Sources suggest that a new incumbent in the Rail Bhawan is expected soon.
However, Suresh Prabhu has introduced a new concept after the two rail accidents, Concept of Accountability and Arun Jaitley has appreciated the concept. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not accept his resignation. It seems prime minister will keep him in the cabinet.
As per sources speculation, the former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, who was made to resign by Mamata Banerjee in March 2012 when he had increased the passenger fares by 2 paise, could replace Prabhu.
According to sources, Trivedi and Ashwani Lohani, who has been appointed as Chairman of Railway Board, could make for a leadership to reform Indian Railways and take forward Prabhu’s work.
With more regional parties joining the NDA fold, it wouldn’t be an easy task for the Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to satisfy all the new entrants. As per sources, the new NDA allies the JD(U) and the AIADMK which is yet to formally join the fold could find a place in Modi Cabinet. While Nitish Kumar’s party could get a minister of state with independent charge, two MoS berths could be given to AIADMK.
A source states that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is highly likely to give the job to a senior minister with economic governance credentials. The Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari may get the charge, given his reputation for pushing infrastructural developments efficiently.
Narendra Modi led NDA government emerging stronger after establishing supremacy in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, people are expecting some major surprises.
Other prominent ministries like environment are being run by ministers as additional charges, giving rise to speculations that new appointees may be inducted into the Cabinet. Environment ministry portfolio was reallocated to science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan after the sudden demise of Anil Madhav Dave.
As far as Shiv Sena is concerned, it will lose its relevance and bargaining power because there is every likelihood that AIADMK will join the government. They have got 37 MPs in Lok Sabha and 13 in Rajya Sabha. In such situation, Shiv Sena will not be in a position to bargain.
The most impressive point is Prime Minister Narendra Modi has complete trust in Amit Shah. Prime Minister has given the responsibility of winning 2019 elections to Shah. After Amit Shah was elected in Rajya Sabha, media and people in BJP started speculating that Shah will be included in the cabinet. Shah himself ruled out his becoming the home minister. He wants to fulfil his responsibility as BJP chief. Some people say that he may be made the leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha.
The government needs to seek more time from President Ram Nath Kovind to set its house in order ahead of the key Cabinet reshuffle. This could well be the last reshuffle before the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Significantly, some assembly elections are due over the next six months.
The Modi Cabinet reshuffle is the talk of the town. There is hectic discussion, debate and gossip in the power corridors of Delhi as to who would get what in the reshuffle.
While some of the less performing ministers may be asked to leave, those doing good work like power minister Piyush Goyal and petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan may get elevated.
The entire country is discussing about the cabinet reshuffle. Informed sources say that the reshuffle would take place on September 2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for international visits to China and Myanmar on 3 September, and an elaborate expansion is likely before that. Cabinet reshuffle can take place anytime between Saturday and September 5 when Pitru Paksha or Shradh, a fortnight considered inauspicious in Hindu calendar, begins.
In the last fortnight, Shah and Modi have been in marathon meetings with BJP ministers, chief ministers of BJP ruled states, MPs and RSS top brass. These consultations are being seen as a part of the process to lay the groundwork for the last major reshuffle in the government and the organisation before the next General election in 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a 3 hour long discussion with BJP Amit Shah on this matter and they have finalized the shape of the new cabinet. They are just waiting for the signal from President House.