That was definitely much more than a mere cosmetic exercise. You can only imagine the anger and confusion of media houses. After all, they still remember a time when ministry decisions were fixed by journalists over the phone. They must really miss the days when everyone from industry cronies to media dalals would sit down and decide this stuff. The days of leaks, of insider information, are all over, which led one enlightened personality to speak thus:
Indeed, fascism has arrived 🙂 What else?
Let’s go straight to the biggest change of all. Smriti Irani has been shifted to the Textile Ministry. In recent days, she was beginning to crack under pressure, with a silly outburst against some Congi for calling her “dear”. The relentless media campaign against her was beginning to tell. The bad news for Mameluks is that Smriti Irani is not giving up her claim to Amethi any time soon. And that was always the real reason she was targeted in the first place. In fact, some journos hurried to find controversies to trail her in the new textile ministry. It’s like there is some reward (and there probably is a reward) for being the first journo to find something wrong with the textile ministry 🙂 Here is Pallavi Ghosh, carried away with excitement:
In response to her tweet, you can also see a poor AAPtard who has jumped in to prove that Modi’s alleged target is unrealistic 🙂
Prakash Javadekar comes into the HRD ministry fresh from his work in the Environment Ministry. Beyond his affable nature, Javadekar has actually been quite merciless with the environmental NGO types, giving out clearances with ruthless efficiency. India’s leftie academics are more likely to end up seeing some real exercise in raw power now. While Smriti Irani was pugnacious, she placed too much emphasis on following the rules to the letter. Prakash Javadekar has been silently kicking leftie a$$ for a while at the environment ministry: if he brings that attitude to MHRD, our intelligentsia will soon find out what real saffronization looks like.
However, what is truly inexplicable is why Modi does not see the most obvious portfolio that Smriti Irani should hold. It’s I&B. I cannot possibly imagine someone more qualified to hold this position. Instead I believe the harmless Venkaiah Naidu has been handed I&B. But thank goodness that Arun Jaitley is no longer in charge of that.
The other thing that defies explanation is why Piyush Goyal cannot be brought into the Cabinet. His work with Coal and Power is widely appreciated everywhere in the country. It is true that his profile has grown even in this ministry reshuffle. The mining portfolio has been added to his basket, along with his existing job in Coal and Power. With independent charge of three crucial ministries: coal, power and mines, Piyush Goyal’s work is already way more important than most Cabinet ministers! So, why does he have to be “Minister of State with independent charge” rather than simply a Cabinet minister? I simply don’t understand.
Anyways, beyond job titles, the Modi government now has an absolutely A+ team running infrastructure: Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal. I would add Jayant Sinha to the list, since the Hazaribagh MP has now been shifted to Civil Aviation as a Minister of State. I don’t really know about the competence of Ashok Gajapati Raju…the current Cabinet Minister for Civil Aviation who is from the TDP. You can call me prejudiced, but I don’t really trust people not from BJP; I don’t really trust the allies. The Finance Ministry didn’t need two heavyweights and so it is better for Jayant Sinha to move to Civil Aviation where he can probably get stuff done.
The other person whom we have to talk about is incoming minister Anupriya Patel. The Mirzapur MP has merged her Apna Dal with BJP, so that’s better 🙂 This is a merger that really should have happened a long long time ago. In fact, if Anupriya Patel had joined the BJP in 2014 itself, she would have been a potential CM candidate by now. As an OBC Kurmi, she is from just the right caste! The BJP has a long history of winning big with OBC leaders in the Hindi heartland, from Uma Bharti to Kalyan Singh. But it is better late than never…and Anupriya Patel is a solid asset for the future.
One more important change that most people haven’t commented on is the curious case of D V Sadananda Gowda, who began his term in the Modi Cabinet with the high profile Rail Ministry. He was then shifted to the rather less important Law Ministry and yesterday he has been demoted and parked in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. This is likely to be a marker for how quickly the clout of B S Yeddyurappa, (who is DVS’ rival from Karnataka) is growing within BJP. And why not? I am personally quite convinced that Karnataka is scheduled for a Gujarat-MP style 20+ year domination by BJP and Yeddyurappa will be the lucky man who will be at the helm for a significant chunk of that.
By the way, I didn’t get a chance to see Ravish Kumar’s show last night, so I don’t have access to the caste-wise family tree of every single person in the new Modi ministry. But as long as I don’t have to see headlines like these, I will say that our media has exceeded my expectations.
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