Will PM Modi Now Walk The Talk; Cabinet Expansion A Step Towards Vision of Development

Amid intense speculation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expanded his Cabinet by inducting as many as 19 ministers.

The much-awaited reshuffling of the Cabinet is the first prominent change in PM Modi’s organization since he assumed office in May 2014.

Those inducted in today’s expansion are Faggan Singh Kulaste, SS Ahluwalia, Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, Vijay Goel, Rajen Gohain, Anil Madhav Dave, Parshottam Rupala, MJ Akbar, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Jaswantsinh Bhabhor, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Ajay Tamta, Krishna Raj, Mansukh Mandaviya, CR Chaudhary, PP Chaudhary and Subhash Bhamre – all from the BJP, and Anupriya Singh Patel of the BJP’s Uttar Pradesh ally Apna Dal and Ramdas Athawale of the Republican Party of India.

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Five ministers were dropped, Prakash Javadekar was elevated to the status of a cabinet minister – Human Resource Development. He was holding the portfolio of the Union minister of state (independent charge) for environment, forests and climate change.

Ahead of the expansion, Modi was quoted as saying that the expansion of his ministry will reflect “budget focus and priorities”.

A report in a section of the Indian media said the expansion was announced after an exhaustive vetting and selection process to find the best talent, which was a firm departure from the usual routine of frequent changes based on caste, religion and other time serving political considerations.

The selection was based on the new ministers’ professional expertise, experiences in both Centre and states besides keeping the youth factor in mind.

The PM wanted “doers and performers” who can “deliver on his vision of development and priorities – GaonGarib and Kisan (village, the poor and the farmer).”

The list of new ministers has an advocate in PP Chaudhary, a surgeon Subhash Bhamre, former journalist-cum-editor MJ Akbar, a former bureaucrat Arjun Ram Meghwal and writer and conservationist Anil Madhav Dave.

The ministers come from 10 states – Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Assam. There are three each from UP and Gujarat, and one from Uttarakhand – all states where elections will be held next year.

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