Thoughts on the new Modi ministry

Whoa!

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:

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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:

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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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14 thoughts on “Thoughts on the new Modi ministry

  1. Good analysis!

    CW you are a pro when it comes to politics and politician analysis!

    Very valid question indeed regarding Piyush Goyal,the most competent and CEO type minister.

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  2. The only thing I was disappointed about is that Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore,an Olympic silver medallist,was not made the new Sports Minister.Babudom in sports organizations has really hurt the growth of different sports in India and being a former sportsperson himself,he would be well aware of the difficulties that athletes face.

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    1. Indeed, babudom is destroying Indian sport. Because sport is one of the more neglected departments, babudom is even worse there. It was absolutely shameful when some Indian babu went and got drunk and harassed some woman in Scotland (remember?) during Commonwealth Games. For these babus, it was nothing but a free trip abroad paid by taxpayer.

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    1. Richard Dawkins has this joke that the promise is of ONE 72 year old virgin rather than 72 virgins 🙂 Imagine how many lives would have been saved if this was the standard interpretation. For justice sake, I wish there is a life after death so that godamn terrorists can find out just how dumb they were.

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  3. With so much hatred towards Smruti Irani, the Pseudo Seculars are jumping with joy that she has been demoted. But to me, their joy and jumping up and down gleefully tells me how successful Smriti was. Also, with so much joy among Smriti haters, Javadekar will enjoy relatively long honeymoon period. You are right CW that Arun Jaitley is gone from I & B, but that is only consolation as Mr. Naidu is a big question mark. Time will tell.

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  4. Four points:
    1) I agree that Smriti Irani may be marked for bigger things with the UP elections hence the perceived “demotion” to a low-key ministry. She may not have moved the needle much on RTE and a new National Education Policy but I still feel she had done an adequate job and she has age on her side so she’s far from finished (in fact, just getting started)
    2) Baffled by Jayant Sinha move. By all accounts, he has done well in the Finance Ministry and quite frankly, I was hoping he would be groomed as future FM (potentially even next year) and AJ made President (so as to satisfy his ego and getting the finance ministry really charging ahead)
    3) Agree about Piyush Goyal but what’s in a title? With him being given additional charge of mines, it is obvious that he is looked upon as a “doer and performer” by NaMo and his core team.
    4) Loved the Anupriya Patel move. One other person to watch out for is Arjun Meghwal – while he may not be as qualified on paper as Jayant Sinha, but the guy has a NaMo-like story (worked his way up the ladder). While I am not fully aware of the details, he has done great work in Bikaner in uncovering the shady deals of one Mr. Vadra and seems to a humble, no-nonsense, honest guy.

    PS: Was refreshing to see debates around qualifications and merit on all news debates yesterday. If we are discussing candidates on merit within two years of NaMo being in power, imagine the change in our national discourse if he stays in power for 10+ years. 🙂

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      1. Thanks CW. I like the fact that you respond to the comments on your blog. Makes it interactive. All the best to you for continued success.

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