Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz SharifPrime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Wanting a lean cabinet is one thing, but the selection of ministers does not invoke confidence.

Narendra Modi will be handling Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space. Given the secretive nature of India’s nuclear establishment, and the very serious apprehensions regarding several existing and proposed nuclear plants, the ability and intent of Modi to demand and examine accountability and risks with regard to safety rather than merely push for more nuclear plants becomes paramount. I don’t know if it exists. If he puts his mind to it, I imagine it will be a very good thing, but the pollution in Gujarat as well as interest in health doesn’t look very promising.

Nitin Gadkari gets Road Transport and Highways! Sheer brilliance. Ideal Road Builders thanks Modi. Like Modi was lucky for Adani, Gadkari was lucky for IRB to the point of giving Gadkari’s company interest free loans. There is good money in tolls we hear. Ask the guy who campaigned for Modi who has a habit of vandalizing them.

Arun Jaitley, whose grouse against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was that he was not elected will control the country’s finance, corporate affairs and defense after losing the election he contested in. That too, to a Congress candidate. So, at best, it is a “let us see how he does”.

Smriti Irani, who lost the election she contested in as well will be handling HRD, which includes education. Smriti Irani is 12th class pass, as Madhu Kishwar and Ajay Maken pointed out. While, as Swapan Dasgupta said “Someone remind me. Did Rabindranath Tagore go to university? he certainly established one & had enlightened views on education” is true, it doesn’t immediately follow that every uneducated person is a potential Rabindranath Tagore who was a polymath, while Smriti Irani hasn’t been associated with intellectual pursuits as far as I am aware. Worse, she apparently has lied about her education on an earlier election affidavit. Nor was Rabindranath Tagore given the responsibility of handling the Nation’s education and I don’t think he’d lie about his qualifications either. I am no educational snob, and I don’t necessarily see India’s graduations as a qualification, so for me at least, this isn’t a minus as much as a wildcard. Not something you know enough about to expect performance.

Uma Bharati, the 6th class pass and with 13 criminal cases against her, and a key player in the Babri Masjid demolition gets Water resources, river development and Ganga Rejuvenation. On the good side, she had been demanding fighting pollution and illegal quarrying on the Ganga. Considering that much of the sand mafia has BJP blessings, she may actually be able to do some good by pulling them up – or covering up… but for all the undesirable qualities, Uma Bharati does not come across as deceitful. I actually respect her for that. So I am hoping for the Ganga at least. Looks like she gets to put her money where her mouth was. I imagine if she gets sentenced in her cases, Modi will do a Maya Kodnani rerun and pretend ignorance.

Sanjeev Balian, Muzafarnagar riots accused, is Minister of State and Modi’s second opportunity to claim ignorance in the future if he fails to protect him.

Inderjit Singh Rao, Minister of state for Planning (Independent Charge), Statistics and Programme Implementation (Independent Charge), and Defence had been accused by the BJP in the Kandivli Defense Land Scam. Dr. Kirit Somaiya had called it Adarsh II. Rao Inderjit Singh was then Union Defence Minister of State for Defence Production, and as per Dr. Somaiya, he had directed his personal secretary to ask the military authorities in Mumbai to hand over the defence land to Kalpataru builders. Dr. Somaiya was BJP National Secretary and Chairman Scam Expose Committee for BJP. I assume he wasn’t just doing false accusations, right? I suppose doing such things as a part of Congress was the problem. Now that he is BJP, he may proceed? Seriously? Adarsh II is now Adarsh the role model?

Former Army Chief, the controversial V K Singh is Minister of state for the northeast. I can’t imagine north east with its serious grievances about the AFSPA will really find a representative in a former army chief, thought the government will likely count on his experience as well as be influenced by his views on the key issue.

I haven’t been through whole list yet, but this cabinet looks like putting the cat in charge of guarding the milk. I imagine with no fear of the media and no opposition to name as such, one doesn’t really have to bother about election promises of ending corruption and such for another four years at least.

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About the Author

Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

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