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Key highlights from new Modi government: More ministers sworn-in, allies' representation increased

The BJP needs to select a new party president now that J P Nadda is back in the Union Cabinet. Party insiders list O P Mathur, Vinod Tawde, K Laxman, and Devendra Fadnavis as potential candidates.

Written by  Annesha Barua -- June 10th 2024 09:25 AM
Key highlights from new Modi government: More ministers sworn-in, allies' representation increased

Key highlights from new Modi government: More ministers sworn-in, allies' representation increased

PTC News Desk: Although the portfolios have not yet been announced, the political need of a coalition government is the first important lesson to be learned from the new Council of Ministers. In contrast to 45 ministers in 2014 and 57 ministers in 2019, the record high of 72 ministers were sworn in on Sunday during the third term of the BJP-led NDA government.

Their participation in the Council of Ministers has more than doubled to 11 (of whom five are Cabinet rank), compared with merely five (four Cabinet) ministers in 2014 and four (three Cabinet) ministers in 2019, with the help of allies crucial to surpassing the majority mark in 2024.

Following a resounding victory in 2014, Modi declared that he thought the government had no business operating and that the emphasis should instead be on maximum governance rather than minimum government. There were only twenty-three Cabinet ministers, ten Ministers of State with Independent Charge, and twelve Ministers of State in the Council of Ministers. Now, in 2024, Modi has appointed up to 37 MoS, five Independent members of State, and thirty Cabinet members.

The obvious shift in the hierarchy of oath-taking on Sunday at Rashtrapati Bhavan could not be overlooked. Nirmala Sitharaman was preceded by JP Nadda, the national president of the BJP at the moment, and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. Nadda was preceded in taking the oath of office as Cabinet Ministers by Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, and Nitin Gadkari, while Narendra Modi was sworn in as Prime Minister.

The party's hierarchy changed as a result of the appointment of new faces, powerful regional actors, which is the third lesson to be learned from the new Cabinet. The primary lieutenants of Modi are still in place, but the BJP has brought in leaders from other states, notably Manohar Lal Khattar of Haryana and Chouhan from Punjab. Aside from Modi, the new government's top team currently includes six previous chief ministers: Sarbananda Sonowal (Assam), H D Kumaraswamy (two terms in Karnataka), Rajnath Singh (Uttar Pradesh), Chouhan (four terms in Madhya Pradesh), Khattar (two terms in Haryana), and Jitan Ram Majhi (Bihar).

The BJP will also need to choose a new party president in light of Nadda's reappointment to the Cabinet. The field for presidential probables has narrowed with the addition of two probables, Chouhan and Khattar, to the administration. The party's potential leaders, Bhupender Yadav, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Gajendra Shekhawat, are currently members of the Cabinet. In light of the party's 63-seat loss in this Lok Sabha election and its 32-seat deficit in the legislature, the selection of the party's president will be significant.

According to party sources, the topic came up in the last few days during talks between the party's top leadership and the leaders of the RSS. It is anticipated that the Sangh will have an impact on the post's selection because the party and the RSS are both committed to enhancing communication.

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One option would be Devendra Fadnavis, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and a man well-liked by Sangh leaders. According to sources, OBC leader K Laxman, party veteran O P Mathur, and leader of Maharashtra Vinod Tawde—who is renowned for his organizational abilities—are among the other contenders.

In light of the apparent opposition to the status quo in certain states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP's share of the vote has decreased from 62 to 33, and Maharashtra, where it has decreased from 23 to nine, Modi has appointed nine UP ministers (compared to the previous government's 14) and four Maharashtrian ministers (compared to the previous government's ten).

Rather than the number of alliance partners, the swearing-in order appears to have been determined by the members' prominence and expertise. Despite having just two members, Kumaraswamy's JD(S) came in tenth place out of the thirty Cabinet ministers who took the oath of office on Sunday. Later, TDP's Ram Mohan Naidu and JD(U)'s Rajiv Ranjan "Lalan" Singh both took an oath of office.

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- With inputs from agencies

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