Cabinet Reshuffle: Challenges Before the Modi Government

Cabinet reshuffle in Modi Govt

Cabinet reshuffle in Modi Govt

While PM Modi was too busy travelling abroad and taking bold foreign affairs initiatives, much had gone amiss in the state of affairs. Now that the pressure to show something substantial to the people has been felt and the underperformers have been identified, the NDA government is looking to reshuffle the cabinet.

It won’t be off the mark to say that the idea of cabinet reshuffle was a knee-jerk reaction to the prevailing sense of disillusionment among voters, especially when assembly elections in five states are due this year. As it turns out be, the much-needed cabinet reshuffle will take place after the re-election of Amit Shah as the BJP president.

Possible Reasons Behind Cabinet Reshuffle

To quote a renowned columnist, “BJP has little to showcase beyond Modi”. That pretty much explains the enormous pressure that’s on the party to keep its crown shining. When the ‘Modi Magic’ has started giving diminishing returns (consider the drubbing in Delhi assembly polls and the poor show in Bihar), there’s need to give governance a push. The underperformers need to be replaced with those who can accelerate reforms and implement policies. If you have observed, there has been no major economic reforms in the last two years.

The reshuffle is deemed necessary by the BJP since the party wants to fight the perception that certain ministries are not working in sync with the holistic agenda and failing to keep pace with Modi’s idea of governance.

Moreover, there’s a sudden demand for new faces from states like Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and others. What apparently seems to be an effort to give the cabinet a more pan-India feel, could be a careful ploy to appease the voters in the states ahead of assembly elections in 2016 and 2017. It must also be noted that Uttarakhand doesn’t have any representation in the NDA government.

Cabinet Reshuffle Faced With Many Challenges

There’s quite a gap between intending to do something and the ability to get it done. Although the government wants to overhaul the cabinet, what has stonewalled its efforts is the lack of “right replacements”. One of the BJP leaders admitted that its talent pool was “too shallow to engineer a major revamp”.

What has led to this dearth of talent that’s proving to be a hurdle in reviving the BJP’s fortunes? The party, allegedly, doesn’t tap into talents who have favourable views on ideologies different from right wing. Moreover, there’s nothing called the ‘right-wing intelligentsia’ from where the BJP can source talents.

What’s on the Cards?

If media reports are to be believed, the top four portfolios – Defence, Home, Finance and Foreign ministry – are likely to remain the same. Meanwhile, the political grapevine seems to suggest that Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has asked to be moved to a portfolio that has a domestic focus and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari was offered the agriculture ministry, but he had declined it.

Besides Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj, there aren’t many members in the Cabinet who stand out by virtue of their contribution. With not many suitable candidates in sight, the BJP might go by the long-established tradition of giving additional charge to better performers with significant rejig in some ministries.