Eye on poll-bound States, Modi to expand Cabinet

05-07-2016
UD

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be undertaking an expansion of his Council of Ministers on Tuesday with 19 new Ministers from 10 States, with a nod to the upcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and bolstering the talent pool with “doers”, albeit mostly with junior Ministers.

Director General of the Press Information Bureau Frank Noronha confirmed the news of an expansion in the Union Council on microblogging site Twitter, saying that it would take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to official sources, the expansion is being made keeping in view “the need to bring in doers, and performers who would deliver on Prime Minister Modi’s promise of good governance.” The list, sources said, is a mix of political experience, professional competence and social diversity.

To reflect the political compulsions of the poll-bound States, leader of NDA ally Apna Dal, Anupriya Patel, has found space in the Ministry. She commands a sizeable portion of the OBC Kurmi votes. As for Uttarakhand, Almora MP Ajay Tamta, finds a berth, and is a Dalit. Mahendranath Pandey and Krishna Raj, both from poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, have also got ministerial berths.

Among NDA allies, apart from Apna Dal, the Republican Party of India’s Ramdas Athawale will be included.

The list of 19 Ministers includes two tribals, Faggan Singh Kulaste (from Madhya Pradesh) and Jaswant Singh Bhabhore, five who are Dalits, including Mr. Tamta, BJP’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha Arjun Ram Meghwal, Karnataka MP Ramesh Jigjinagi, Mr. Athawale and Mrs. Krishna Raj, who is an MP from the reserved seat of Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Sources said Rajasthan MP P.P. Choudhary, who is a Supreme Court advocate, had been chosen for his professional expertise; Subhash Rao Bhamre, first time MP from Dhule, Maharashtra, is a well known oncological surgeon, while M.J. Akbar is an acclaimed journalist. Anil Madhav Dave’s experience in Narmada conservation was considered while including his name in the list.

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