Wednesday, September, 22,2021


What is the meaning of Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on such a large scale?

Its only meaning and message is that ‘Narendra Modi is the only boss’ and he is in complete command and control of the situation.

He will take decisions in the benefit of the party whether they are Kadve, Kade aur Kathor , if anyone can stop him, they can try doing it. Another message is that except natural ally Shah, there is no other person permanent in Modi’s ‘personal space,’ people come and go.

Is this a Cabinet reshuffle or formation of a new Cabinet under the leadership of Modi?

This is not expansion, but formation of a new Cabinet under the leadership of PM Modi. Such a huge transformation in the Union Cabinet, has happened for the first in the history of Independent India. Out of 81, 77 posts have been filled, 36 new faces introduced, 7 promoted, and 12 dropped.

Has this reshuffle put an end to the decline in Modi’s popularity graph due to the Corona crisis?

Certainly, to a large extent. Modi’s graph dropped and no one should hesitate in accepting this. Modi’s feedback system is strong and he must be knowing about his declining graph, whether he is responsible for this or not is a different ball game.

There is improvement in the declining graph of Modi’s popularity. There are two reasons – one is corona figures, which are gradually declining  and second is the decision of Cabinet reshuffle. It has projected him as ‘decisive’ administrator.

Is it true that the newcomers in the Cabinet were informed about this only two hours ago?
It is true that the newcomers were informed two hours before their inclusion in the Cabinet. Modi called ministers-to-be at 11:30 am for tea at his official residence.

With tea, the new ministers got an envelope wherein, their respective designations and departments were mentioned. It is true that all this was done secretively. Modi and Amit Shah have great attachment to secrecy. All the resignations came in two lines due to personal reasons.

There were only two exceptions. First, Ramesh Pokhriyal, Education Minister, whose resignation letter had two pages. Second was Babul Supriyo, who mentioned that he was asked to resign, however, later he wrote that he resigned on his own.

Is this reshuffle the biggest example of social engineering in the political history of India?
100 percent. And this engineering has been adopted not only in Cabinet, but also in selecting the Governors. About of 7 Governors, 4 are from SC/ST & 3 are Jats.

27 people have become ministers from the OBC category and those belonging to sub- categories have also been inducted. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah did very ‘minute’ home work. There are 20 ministers from SC/ST out of which 4 are Cabinet Ministers. There is no category that is left ‘uncovered.’ Senior journalist Hemant Sharma also accepts that it is an unprecedented move.

In this entire process of reshuffle, apart from Narendra Modi’s natural ally Amit Shah, Party President Nadda and senior leader BL Santhosh were also given full attention?
Yes, it can be said that it is a comeback of internal democracy in Modi government. There is a general perception about Modi and Shah that they decide and implement without consulting others. But BL Santhosh and JP Nadda were present in the discussions.

Is it true that for the first time full importance has been given to the Sangh Parivar and the BJP organisation?

Certainly. This can also be termed as change of heart of Modi-Shah. Power sharing – with Sangh and other people. There have been discussions with Sangh, in UP and New Delhi. It is true that Sangh Parivar has been involved in Cabinet reshuffle to such a large extent for the first time.

BJP is rapidly changing its old image of being a Bania-Brahmin party, will this expansion take this ideology further?
Yes, certainly. The experiment being conducted in the last 7 years, have been extended in this Cabinet reshuffle. The present Cabinet is not of Bania-Brahmin, but that of ‘Backwards.’ So there is total change.

From West Bengal, 4 ministers have been inducted. Will it affect 2024 elections?
After the humiliating defeat in Assembly elections, the BJP has girded up its loins with focus on 2024, which are not so far. They have inducted 4 ministers, who will make some impact at the ground level.

BJP is generally considered to be a party of North India, but speculations are rife that there is an agenda to make it a party of South, for which an ‘Operation South’ would be started.
This is their latest intellectual innovation to move from North India to South. Efforts were made earlier also, but all that went in vain. It is a fact that they will start ‘Operation South,’ the responsibility of which, has been given to JP Nadda and BL Santhosh in co-ordination with Amit Shah. BJP eyes about 200 seats in South in 2024.

Has the focus of this reshuffle really been on the elections to be held in UP & some other states?
I perceive it as Carpet bombing. Special thing about Modi-Shah is that wherever they go, they study the region thoroughly and capture it. Yes, the focus is on upcoming elections in UP, Karnataka. There are sometimes talks of  difference of opinion among Modi and Yogi, but I don’t accept it. At present, UP is entirely controlled by Yogi. Yogi is the face and the best bet of the party in UP. An interesting aspect to note here is that whether Yogi takes a clue from the Union Cabinet reshuffle, of caste and area equations, or goes ahead with his own ways. My analysis is that in Yogi’s Cabinet reshuffle, there will be role of the Centre, RSS and JP Nadda too.

Was it compulsion for PM to accommodate allies in states like UP & Bihar in this reshuffle? After all, what was the reason that Nitish Kumar could not get his four people inducted in the Cabinet despite all his efforts?
The honeymoon phase of BJP and allies is gradually coming to an end. Modi-Shah are worried about stopping it and want to  with connect more parties. Nitish Kumar is an enigma in Bihar politics. He wanted 4 posts in Cabinet but only 1 was finalised. Nitish could not play his card smartly, but Modi-Shah did. 

Rahul Gandhi has called this reshuffle a political gimmick, do you agree with this?
Naturally, it is a ceremonious statement from an opposition leader. I believe Rahul Gandhi is the best bet in the Congress, who attacks directly and keeps his points of view. But Randeep Surjewala scores more with his statement that, ‘Engine was to be changed, but instead, bogies were changed.’

Home Minister Amit Shah has got the charge of Co-operative Ministry. What would have been PM’s intention behind doing this?
Amit Shah is a ray of hope for PM in all circumstances, whether good or bad. Making Shah the in-charge of Cooperative is a masterstroke. There is no person in the country, who can beat Shah in politics of ‘Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed.’ Since the age of 36 , he had performed very well in Co-operative sector in Gujarat and helped BJP foray into the Dairy sector. There will be far reaching political results of him taking charge of the Co-operative Ministry. He will control politics in favour of BJP through the sector. This is actually a message to  Sharad Pawar. There is politics of sugar mills in Maharashtra, now everything is under Shah. Home and Cooperative is a very deadly combination, but Shah will strike a perfect balance among the two.
After all, what would have been the reasons for the removal of powerful ministers like  RS Prasad, Prakash Javadekar, Dr Harsh Vardhan & Ramesh Pokhriyal?
Prakash Javadekar is a humble & efficient man, who never loses  his cool. Party wanted to bring to fore the leaders with larger voter base. The party will certainly utilise Javadekar and other leaders ousted from Cabinet appropriately. I do not consider any negative repercussion of this. For RS Prasad, it is a tragedy of circumstances. He is a competent ‘yes man,’ who understands his work.  For Harsh Vardhan, corona mismanagement has been a factor. As far as Pokhriyal is concerned, there was a confusion about CBSE exams and it is considered that he could not create the desirable impact.

There was talk of Bhupender Yadav becoming the Law Minister till the last moment, but he was handed over Labour, Forest & Environment Ministries. How do you view this event?
Bhupender Yadav is another discovery of Modi-Shah from Rajasthan. Its the rise & rise of Bhupender Yadav. He got more seats than JDU in Bihar. Yes, he was scheduled to become the Law Minister & it was natural as he is a loyalist lawyer of BJP & has handled many cases including the Gujarat riots. He has worked under Arun Jaitley and is one of the best legal minds in the country. I think he is still under- utilised, but has a significant role to play in upcoming polls.

It was said that Devendra Fadnavis would also be called from Maharashtra to the Union Cabinet, but it didn’t happen?
We had also heard that he is coming as Finance Minister. There are also talks that Maharashtra government is toppling. BJP and NCP do not seem to be getting closer due to CBI case as such,  there are chances of coalition of BJP and Shiv Sena again and in such a condition, Fadnavis may become CM again.

Dharmendra Pradhan, who did a brilliant job in Petroleum, was suddenly made the Education Minister. How do you see this change?
Pradhan has performed well in a ministry, which was considered a ministry of corporates, he changed it to the ‘ministry of common men’ by allotting free- gas connections. Education is a vast sector. Pradhan is associated with Sangh Parivar & his main responsibility will be to implement the NEP. Pradhan is a ‘bindaas’ person, who is happy under all circumstances.

The PM has included 5 people from the North East in his Cabinet, what are the political implications of this?
It is just a return gift to the North East. Modi enjoys great stature in the region and has changed all equations there. I recently went to Guwahati and inquired from people and they were singing paeans to Modi.

For the first time, a large number of former bureaucrats and technocrats were assigned important responsibilities in the Cabinet, wherein, the most shocking case is that of Ashwini Vaishnaw. How do you see this experiment?
The experiment is good and such experiments can be done with huge mandate only. You can make such experiments being Narendra Modi and Amit Shah only. Other people wouldn’t allow you in democracy to replace political class with bureaucracy. But they have to perform, else political class will throw them out.

A comparatively young minister, Anurag Thakur, has been entrusted with the important responsibility of I & B Ministry along with the Ministry of Sports. Can he be the future CM of Himachal Pradesh?
He is a fresh face. He has been a ‘yes man’ and a silent performer in Finance Ministry. Now, there is tension between the government and the media houses over IT rules and ahead of polls, he is tasked with bridging the gap. He has been in BCCI and understands sports. He can be the future CM of HP. His father PK Dhumal has been close to Modi. He is one of the best choices to be sent from Delhi.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, who came from Congress to BJP, became a minister, but Jitin Prasada’s number didn’t come. What would have been the reason for this?
He is too young to be a Cabinet Minister. Scindia had to wait after joining BJP as such Prasada should also wait. There are chances in future.

This Cabinet also included a large number of people with tainted image and criminal background. Would you like to say something about this?
Criminal background and politics are deeply connected. Many efforts have been made by various agencies to separate these two factors, but it is tough. Efforts should be made for decriminalisation of politics.

In Rajasthan also at least 6 people were in line to become ministers, but only Bhupender Yadav got the chance. Would you like to say something?
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. There were chances of some of these six, but at the last moment, there were many factors that worked so many names were sacrificed. The most shocking is non-inclusion of Diya Kumari, who was set to be included in the Cabinet. But still there is much time.

Is Ashok Gehlot going to make any major reshuffle in Rajasthan on the lines of Modi Cabinet and has there been a consensus on the issue of including the people of Pilot faction in the cabinet?
A million dollar question. He is going for reshuffle and there are talks of 6 ministers being dropped, but another talk is of ‘status -quo’ as the present conditions in Rajasthan hint. So, there might be expansion by including some faces from the Pilot group. When it happens is to be seen and it will happen when a consensus is reached on formula with Pilot faction. But question arises whether faces from the Pilot camp will be selected by Pilot or Gehlot. My sources say that Gehlot is stressing on demolishing camps and let there be one camp – Congress camp. Gehlot wants to select faces himself as his prerogative. There is deadlock over this and matter is with High Command now. Ajay Maken is in Delhi; One fine day, Sonia Gandhi would call up to reach a consensus, Gehlot will agree and there may be 50:50 formula. But one thing is clear in Rajasthan and Punjab that CM is supreme here. A senior leader and PCC chief told me that government has been saved only due to Ashok Gehlot. Pilot is young, smart, and  has time in his hands. He is being projected for a big role in Maharashtra as such he should look forward. Let’s hope that in the interest of the state, all camps are demolished and there is only one Congress within coming 2.5 years.

Will Cabinet reshuffle be postponed once again due to Assembly’s Monsoon Session and local body polls in some districts?
Some people have apprehensions that Gehlot would not allow expansion at any cost. This is just a thought and not the truth. I do not see any cause for delay in Cabinet expansion. People are mature and the matter has reached Sonia Gandhi now and no one would like to dilute it. Cabinet expansion will happen as soon as consensus is reached on the formula.

How do you see the role of state in-charge Ajay Maken in resolving the Rajasthan crisis?
Ajay Maken is a handsome person with a pleasing personality. He listens to Pilot also and meets all leaders. He is acting as a ‘bridge’ and Pilot camp has faith in him unlike Avinash Pande. those belonging to camps are of the view that he is listening more to Pilot. Maken is a part of the real ‘High Command’. He has returned to New Delhi  with high hopes. He has been largely successful in uniting these two camps.

What are the challenges before the Modi Cabinet in view of 2024 polls?
The biggest challenge is that of ‘efficient delivery.’ There are many new faces, who have been elected several times, but have no experience of governance. There are naive faces, who need time to get trained. They have challenge of time-bound delivery, of rising to the expectations of Modi and Shah.
(During the show #JConCabinet Reshuffle trended all India on Twitter)

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