About seven weeks after ministers of the Narendra Modi administration were sworn in, the ruling BJP is abuzz with speculation about the reasons for dropping some ministers who were part of the government in its first term.
Last week, BJP sources told The Print, PM Modi invited some of the dropped ministers for a pep-talk.
Earlier this month, at a parliamentary party meeting, Modi had reportedly shared with MPs “the secret” to becoming a minister in his government.
According to sources, he had talked about a network that keeps an eye on the activities of all MPs, and how the feedback received plays a key role in the selection of ministers.
Several factors like caste and social equations, besides electoral compulsions, etc play a part, they added. One’s chemistry with the PM and party president, they said, plays a vital role as well.
Take for example Giriraj Singh, the Union Minister for Animal Husbandry known for putting the BJP in a tough spot more than once with his unconsidered remarks.
Singh was minister of state (independent charge) for the crucial micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) portfolio in the first Modi government, and his induction as Cabinet minister was seen as a promotion.
There are two key reasons behind the Begusarai MP’s “elevation”, the sources said.
Singh is a Bhumihar, an electorally-significant community in Bihar politics. This is said to have played a role in the BJP’s decision since Bihar will go to the polls next year.
Even so, lack of faith in his efficiency led Modi to move Singh out of MSME, a crucial portfolio amid the controversy on jobs, and hand the charge to Nitin Gadkari, who is seen as a top performer. Similar equations, however, led Radha Mohan Singh, another leader from Bihar, to be dropped altogether.