Choosing a minister for central cabinet is surely a prerogative of the Prime Minister and no one should question, but when Narendra Modi said that the first and foremost principle was, ‘perform or perish ‘ and many BJP leaders claimed that the team was meant for the 2019 elections, one has to see which statement is correct. So far the government performance is not up to the average. As far as a series of electoral victories is concerned, it is the direct result of disarray among the opposition parties. The country is facing agricultural crisis, unemployment is staring in the eyes of the youth, the economic growth and GDP are down, export and manufacturing are in doldrums, political situation in Kashmir is the worst, CBI, ED and Income Tax departments are being misused for ruling party’s political gains, cow vigilantes are harassing and killing minorities and Dalits, then how can a common man praise the Modi government. No doubt, the BJP leaders and a large section of print and electronic media are all praise for the Prime Minister and the government performance. The ruling party is successful in this strategy, but how far the new team of the Prime Minister will succeed is a vital question and the answer to which can hardly be given in positive. The new team has been chosen by the Prime Minister with consultation of party chief Amit Shah and of course with the advice of the RSS.
Six ministers have been dropped and nine new faces were inducted, four of them former bureaucrats. The Congress said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had wider consultation preceding ministry formation and no secrecy was maintained. It is Narendra Modi’s way to concentrate power with him and his close aides. The party leaders are showering Prime Minister with praise and platitude that a junior minister Nirmala Sitharaman was elevated and made Defence Minister. No doubt, she is the first full-fledged minister of that important portfolio, but definitely she was not rewarded for her hard work. There was hardly any appreciable performance of the ministry of Commerce and Industry, of which she was in charge. Senior leader Sushma Swaraj is the minister for External Affairs, but she has been reduced to helping individuals in distress through her tweets. Policy matters are finalized by the PMO. The new Defence Minister may face the same situation. There has been hardly any notable performance of Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh but he escaped the axe. Some others also may be named. A senior leader Bandaru Dattatreya hailing from Telangana was shown the door and now the state is unrepresented in the central cabinet. Railways minister Suresh Prabhu offered to resign after an accident in Uttar Pradeh, Prime Minister asked him to wait. He has been shifted to the ministry of Commerce and Industry. Senior leader and firebrand speaker Umma Bharati was on the edge due to her performance and she was likely to be dropped. It is reported that the RSS came to her rescue. She was shifted from Water Resouces and Ganga Clean UP ministry to Drinking Water and Sanitation. Four former bureaucrats who were inducted are Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Puri, Satyapal Singh and Alphons Kannanthanam. The Congress said, induction of bureaucrats meant the PM had no faith in his elected colleagues. Is the new team strong enough to handle the challenges the country is confronted with and extend helping hand to the PM to win the coming Lok Sabha elections ?