Narendra Modi is known for surprises. Whenever he has to take a big move, he keeps it discreet till the end. This time, it was about cabinet reshuffling. Before the new cabinet and council of Ministers were announced, there was a disciplined drama which was directed by Narendra Modi. 12 Ministers resigned from their posts. Ministers resigning and new ministers replacing them is nothing new, however something distinguished happened.
Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Law Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Information and Broadcasting Minister Shri Prakash Jawedkar resigned from their respective posts before the cabinet reshuffle. These leaders were part of the senior cabinet and considered to be both strong leaders and close affiliates of Modi. However, these things didn’t matter during the cabinet reshuffle. Many are considering this decision of Modi based on the backlash these leaders are facing from the public. But is that the reality? People are criticizing the Modi government on the issue of handling Covid-19 despite the government doing good enough and currently leading the world’s largest vaccination drive.
The Law Minister on the other hand is taking good measures in protecting the interests of people at large on social media by forcing them to comply with Indian laws. The Education Minister did a brilliant job in pushing for virtual classes for students during Covid crisis. The I & B Minister on the other hand is trying to support the Law Ministry in bringing OTT Platforms, Digital News portals and Social Media platforms into check.
In such a time when these Ministries are trying their best, Modi seeking their resignation looks more like ‘Kamraj Model’ and not punishment. Stalwart Congress leader Kamraj better known as Kingmaker used to make Ministers quit the government and work for his party. It not only used to send a strong message but also used to strengthen the party. Doing a Kamraj Model is definitely courageous and a strong move at a time when state elections of 5 states are coming including that of Uttar Pradesh which will be the determining factor for next general elections. It further shows the undisputed control of Narendra Modi inside BJP at a time when other political parties are struggling due to internal revolts. It puts Narendra Modi into a different league and makes his image inside and outside BJP as a combination of Indira Gandhi and Kamraj where he is both King and Kingmaker. At the helm of his popularity, it’ll be important to see if Narendra Modi could pull off 2024 elections and become Prime Minister for a third tenure. These key leaders resigning ahead of cabinet reshuffle will definitely be given charges of their respective states to make BJP stronger.
Ravi Shankar Prasad will probably be given responsibility to strengthen Bihar BJP while Prakash Jawedkar will be asked to strengthen BJP Maharashtra. Dr Harsh Vardhan will be asked to do his magic in Delhi. BJP is not that powerful in these three states as it is out of power in two and a junior partner in another. These leaders will be the determining factor for BJP becoming stronger here.
India is a country of states and Modi has a good experience of working in BJP for different states. Thus, he is trying to spread the lotus to as many states as he can and break the image of the Cow-Belt party. While making senior ministers resign, he also made some crucial appointments with special focus on the North East. For the first time in independent India, we’ve got five Ministers from the North East including the important portfolio of Law Minister going to Kiran Rijuju, the Member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh. Additionally, Modi’s team now has the most women ever as ministers with key portfolios like the Finance Ministry going to Nirmala Sitharaman. One may like or dislike the politics of Narendra Modi, but can never undermine how he shaped the Indian politics.
Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com