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Wider representation

Highlights

Modi has kept in mind social, caste and regional equations, taking in Dalits, Jats and other communities.

Modi has kept in mind social, caste and regional equations, taking in Dalits, Jats and other communities. Qualified professionals’ induction is in keeping with the knowledge-driven times, and must be welcomed

One recalls several postponements that Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to make before each time making changes in his team. It is the same National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in power, but with a clear majority. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the lead constituent, is also the predominant one. Narendra Modi’s leadership has made all the difference the way 21 new ministers, including four cabinet ministers, three Ministers of State (independent charge) and 14 Ministers of State were inducted on Sunday in the first expansion since he took office five months ago. It was smooth, except for Shiv Sena.

The angry NDA constituent has been shown its place. The BJP has withstood Sena pressures for ministerial berths in Maharashtra. Sena is snubbed further with the induction of Suresh Prabhu, an expert on energy and water issues, who quit the Sena later in the day and joined BJP. Prabhu was made to resign from the Vajpayee team on a diktat from Sena’s founderchief, late Balasaheb Thackeray. Listed for the ministerial berth, another senior Sena leader Anil Desai did not take oath. Indeed, he returned to Mumbai from Delhi Airport. How times have changed, Sena under son Udhhav must be wondering. BJP, Sena may eventually patch up, but only if and after Sena accepts its role as the junior partner in that government. Like Prabhu, a chartered accountant, Goa’s Manohar Parrikar is an IIT graduate to be elevated, giving tiny Goa a higher political profile. Jayant Sinha, son of former union minister Yashwant Sinha is an investment professional.

Qualified professionals’ induction is in keeping with the knowledge- driven times, and must be welcomed. However, politics does play its part. Modi has kept in mind social, caste and regional equations, taking in Dalits, Jats and other communities. He has rewarded Chaudhary Birender Singh (Haryana) and Ram Kripal Yadav (Bihar) who had rebelled against their respective parties on the eve of parliamentary polls. Old-timer Bandaru Dattatreya, an OBC leader from Andhra Pradesh, returns as Minister of State with Independent charge. Y S (‘Sujana’) Chowdary, a Rajya Sabha debutante, is the second MP from the Telugu Desam Party.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, vice-president and the party’s most prominent Muslim face, finds a place. Besides Naqvi, the induction of Rajiv Pratap Rudy should mean the party will have to find new spokespersons. J P Nadda from Himachal Pradesh, tipped to lead the BJP till Amit shah was finally selected, gets a cabinet rank. There is a touch of glamour in popular singer and political debutante Babul Supriyo. The world of sports, along with the army (besides Gen. (rtd.) V K Singh) gets represented in Olympian shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. There is a Sadhvi, perhaps a first, in Niranjan Jyoti. The overall picture of the 66-member team is one of wide representation. Although there are too many first timers, this is understandable given BJP’s parliamentary sweep in most parts of the country.

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