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Modi Cabinet: Who will get what and how?


bjpNew Delhi, May 20 – A new government means a new set of Cabinet ministers and allocation of portfolios, and there are 282 BJP MPs to take care of when Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi forms his government. A long list of challenges awaits the PM-elect, especially the selection of his Council of Ministers.

But primary of all challenges will be to allocate key roles to senior BJP leaders such as LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh himself. Going by the beeline of leaders and well-wishers who paid visit to Rajnath Singh on Monday, it means it will be Singh himself who will be the second in command, and will take oath possibly as Home Minister.

Or, a position similar to one LK Advani enjoyed in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet. Advani, who already has his eye on the post of the Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha, was the deputy prime minister.


Just before the election results came in, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had reportedly told Singh and Gadkari that she doesn’t wish to be a part of a Modi government. Now with government formation at hand, news reports suggest that Swaraj is keen on the foreign ministry, but a lot depends on her fractured rapport with Narendra Modi.

And if Rajnath Singh’s statements about the party making the best of Arun Jaitley’s expertise comes true, then the Rajya Sabha leader is all set to be India’s next finance minister. Then there are others who had Cabinet berths in the Vajpayee government.

Darjeeling MP SS Ahluwalia, Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha, Gurudaspur MP Vinod Khanna, Saran MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Kanpur MP Murli Manohar Joshi fall into this category. It remains to be seen if, and how, they will be accommodated.

Another name closely watched in that Cabinet list will be BJP General Secretary Amit Shah. Though, reports say that Modi will retain Varanasi seat and vacate Vadodara for his close aide.

PTI5_7_2014_000219BKeenly monitored also will be the roles chosen for state Chief Ministers and leaders who have given Modi and his party a record number of seats from their states, mainly Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), and their likes. What will their roles be in the new government?

Then come the surprise flag-bearers for the party in 2014 elections – the giant slayers such as Satyapal Singh (Baghpat) or former Army chief VK Singh (Ghaziabad seat), who defeated Rashtriya Lok Dal boss Ajit Singh and Raj Babbar of the Congress who moved from Firozabad to the NCR seat. Even Smriti Irani, who gave Rahul Gandhi a tough fight from Amethi, will be on Modi’s radar for a key role.

Meanwhile, as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh officially maintains distance from the BJP’s victory celebrations, senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu has said the right-wing outfit will have no role in the Cabinet formation. The RSS, on the contrary, has sent feelers that it will not be averse to an advisory one.

As we come closer to government formation, the first hints of non-BJP allies knocking on government doors for a role in the Cabinet. YSR Congress’ Jagan Mohan Reddy has already met Narendra Modi on Monday. Will it be Jayalalithaa or Mamata next?