The cabinet announced yesterday did not surprise many, it took care of regional aspirations, continuity for performers and preparing next line leaders. By inducting an MP from all allied minus the JDU and at least one from all key states Modi has taken care of regional aspirations and coalition dharma. The only exception is Nitish whose party is not in for symbolic representation but effective representation which roughly translated means that we want more berths in the cabinet. We save this discussion for some other day.
There has been only one lateral talent import, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. His contribution to both US and China relations is well known and is credited with several key negotiations- end of stapled visas to J&K residents by China and better access to their markets and sustainable bilateral relations. He was also involved in US-India civil nuclear agreement between 2004-2007 as Joint Secy in MEA.
The Sangh gets its share as Rajnath continues to be at No. 2 or No. 3 depending on where your deeper allegiance lies, while Nitin Gadkari is in all likely expected to continue his good work in infrastructure with an even greater financial push. The truly downtrodden get their representation through Pratap Chandra Sarangi, a bachelor who lives in a thatched house and works tirelessly for the vast rural population of Odisha.
That leaves us with Amit Shah– many thought that he has an unfinished job in West Bengal and, MP and Karnataka. This might well be an indication that Modi will forego aggressive posturing in states where there is a power tussle or at least doesn’t want to be seen, as a man after his enemies. Instead, Modi wants to focus on what could be his biggest challenge- the economy. Amit Shah has only limited exposure to the financial world at least not the scale that a Country of India’s size and complexity may need, but insiders are confident that he will make it up with an acute eye for details, impeccable execution and the capacity to disrupt.
Finally, we come to the two notable left-outs, Maneka Gandhi and Rajyavardhan Rathore. Maneka did what was expected from her and people are putting their neck out on a speaker role as compensation but Rathore did appear to be leading sports in the right direction in our country but again Vasundhara has been a constant thorn, and who knows Rathore may just be the solution to BJP’s leadership woes in Rajasthan.