Modi to induct new faces in Cabinet rejig, may shunt out Anurag Thakur

By early April, three allies of NDA - JDU, YSRCP, and the AIADMK - are expected to get Cabinet slots

Anurag Thakur
Minister of state Anurag Thakur recently courted controversy for his hate comment ‘desh k gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko’. Photo: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the BJP’s poor show in the Delhi Assembly election, is reportedly planning a rejig of his Cabinet. By early April, three allies of the NDA, the Janata Dal United (JDU), YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), and the AIADMK, are expected to get Cabinet slots.

Bihar is going to polls in October and Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, early next year. The Parliament session will end by April and consultations have started in earnest in the operational backrooms of the government to facilitate a smooth reshuffle.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda had a two-hour meeting with the PM on the day of the Delhi results. A draft proposal of the revamp reportedly figured in the meeting.

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Many senior leaders would have to be made general-secretaries in the Nadda team. The central parliamentary board of the BJP will be constituted by early March.

Sources in the know said the PM focused mostly on a facelift to the Cabinet. The task before the PM, Shah, and Nadda would be to draw up a list of leaders who could be posted for organizational work. The old hands may not want to take up this task.

Narendra Modi is a politician who is unlikely to tilt the balances in favour of the old. He is likely to find space for young faces like Tejasvi Surya, MP from Bangalore South; Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, MP from Leh; Locket Chatterjee, MP from Hooghly; and Dilip Ghosh, MP from Medinipur.

In the midst of all this, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy landed up on a special plane for a one-on-one with the PM. Modi has asked Jagan to meet Amit Shah on Wednesday.

Jagan is expected to be in New Delhi on Friday to meet Amit Shah. Speculation is rife in the corridors of power and there are differences of opinion within the party on the campaign style adopted by Amit Shah.

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The loose cannons of the party like Anurag Thakur,  who hogged the headlines with hate statements like ‘goli maaro gaddaron ko,’ may also be shown the door.

In all likelihood, the YSRCP will get a Minister of State as it has 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha. The JD(U) strength is 16. The AIADMK situation is tricky as the OPS and EPS factions would need to be accommodated. OPS’s son Raveendranath Kumar and EPS loyalist Vaidyalingam will get cabinet berths.

YSRCP could propose Mithun Reddy and Vijai Sai Reddy as their men in the ministry. JDU’s Rajiv Ranjan ‘Lalan’ and Kavita Singh, both Lok Sabha MPs, are likely to get through.

The bottom line is that the assembly debacle has served a severe blow to the BJP, prompting the party leadership to think of a strategy that is more sober and people-centred. And, PM Modi is in no mood to wait to execute an overhaul, for, he fears a dent to the image of the government if organizational exercises are not undertaken in time.

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