A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his council of ministers took their oath of office, the allocation of portfolios has already begun. But many big names are missing from Modi's Cabinet 2.0, including Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. As many as 37 ministers that were a part of the Modi 1.0 government have been dropped from the new cabinet.
While Jaitley, the former finance minister, and former External Affairs minister Swaraj cited health reasons to opt out, Jagat Prakash Nadda - who had handled the portfolio of health-implementing initiatives of PM Modi in the first term - also did not get a call from Modi for the swearing-in yesterday. Speculation is rife that he will be stepping into Amit Shah's shoes as the next BJP president.
Uma Bharati, who had handled the Drinking Water and Sanitation portfolio in the first term, did not contest in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and hence was dropped from the list and Manoj Sinha was omitted due to his loss in the Lok Sabha election despite being previously praised for his handling of the railway ministry as the minister of state.
On the other hand, some names like Radha Mohan Singh, a cabinet rank minister for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare, and Anupriya Patel, an MoS in the health and family welfare ministry, did not make the cut for underperforming in the previous term. Several others were omitted as a knuckle-rap of sorts.
For instance, Maneka Gandhi, the women and child development minister in the previous government, was dropped after she courted controversy during the Lok Sabha election. In a rally she had said that Muslims should not approach her for work if they don't vote for her in the polls. Similarly, Anantkumar Hegde, previously Minister of State in Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, was dropped despite winning the Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha seat by a margin of over 4 lakh votes. He was recently reprimanded by the BJP leadership for his views on Nathuram Godse.
Then there is Jayant Sinha, MoS Finance and later Civil Aviation in the previous government. Given that he is the son of vocal party critic Yashwant Sinha, and had created controversy in 2017 for garlanding eight men convicted for lynching a cattle trader, nobody is surprised that he did not make the cut this time.
But there were some omissions that have raised eyebrows, Suresh Prabhu for one. He was a Shiv Sena leader in 2014 but Modi wanted him in his cabinet so Prabhu quit his party and the BJP made him a Rajya Sabha MP. He went on to head various portfolios including railways and commerce and industry. Former soldier and Olympic medal winner Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who was given key portfolios of youth and sports as well as information and broadcasting in the previous government, was also not invited to join the new cabinet.
A big name that has opted to drop out of the new government is Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar. He is protesting the lone cabinet berth offered to his party by the Modi 2.0 government when they were hoping for three. "They wanted only one person from JDU in the cabinet, so it would have been just a symbolic participation. We informed them that it is ok we don't need it. It is not a big issue, we are fully in NDA and not upset at all. We are working together, no confusion," Kumar told ANI.
Others who did not take oath yesterday reportedly include:
- KJ Alphons (Culture and Tourism)
- Mahesh Sharma (Culture and Environment, Forest and Climate Change)
- Anant Geete (Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises)
- Chaudhary Birender Singh (Steel)
- Jual Oram (Tribal Affairs)
- Vijay Goel (Parliamentary Affairs and Statistics & Programme Implementation)
- Ramesh Jigajinagi (Drinking Water & Sanitation)
- Ram Kripal Yadav (Rural Development)
- Satya Pal Singh (HRD)
- Hansraj Ahir (Home Affairs)
- SS Ahluwalia (Electronics and IT)