The Cabinet rejig makes it clear that performance decides who keep the berth in Narendra Modi’s team as the PM and BJP start preparing for parliamentary polls that are barely 20 months away.
While Smriti Irani, Harsh Vardhan and Prakash Javadekar retained their positions despite expectations that there could be some changes, especially with two of them holding multiple portfolios, Mahesh Sharma and Vijay Goel have seen a dilution in their responsibilities.
Irani has kept the I&B portfolio. Irani is an articulate speaker and a vital force for the party to take on the Gandhis in Amethi. Her performance in rolling out GST seamlessly in the textile industry has worked in her favour too. Irani’s successor in the HRD ministry, Javadekar, who was elevated to a cabinet rank last year, also retained his seat. Seen as an able negotiator and facilitator, Javadekar is credited with getting key legislations such as the Autonomy Bill of IIMs passed. Javadekar has also been active in pushing the PM’s agenda of ‘federal cooperation’ by talking to states on issues such as primary education that are state subjects.
Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan has retained both ministries. He is an old RSS arm and is vital to ensuring the party’s strength among Sangh cadres in Delhi.
Another key Delhi BJP leader, Vijay Goel, however, saw a slide in stature after losing the sports ministry to Rajyavardhan Rathore. Assigned parliamentary affairs, Goel is seen as having slipped in the eyes of the party leadership over his handling of sports affairs. Mahesh Sharma’s exit as the tourism minister, making way for former bureaucrat Alphons Kannanthanam, indicates the government’s emphasis on performance.
As carried in timesofindia on 4.9.2017