New Delhi: The intent to showcase and strengthen the BJP’s expanse from a party of the Hindi heartland to a pan-India entity played a big role in the induction of the new faces in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet on Wednesday.
Of the 36 new faces and seven existing ministers, who were selected from across 25 states, 16 are first-time MPs. According to party leaders and political observers, the new Cabinet has made public the leaders around whom the party will revolve in the coming 10-15 years.
“Under the guidance of Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP has expanded in every part of India, bringing every religion, community, caste into the party fold. And this is reflected in the Cabinet composition. This recent expansion shows how the party leadership has been sincerely pushing for inclusive growth,” Shiwanand Dwivedi, senior research fellow with Syama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation, told The Sunday Guardian.
According to a party general secretary, the expansion has also revealed the names of the leaders who are expected to lead the party in the coming decade. “You look at the relatively young faces who have been asked to lead important ministries. By the time the 2029 elections happen, we will have a team of leaders who will have substantial experience under their belt, both organizational and administrative. Can any other political party claim this? You look at the BJP of 2011 and you look at the BJP of 8 July 2021, and you will see that very few of those who were in important positions in 2011 in the party are still around. Look at the other parties. Same faces, same leaders, same families,” he said.
Dwivedi, who has co-authored a book on former BJP president Amit Shah and the expansion of BJP, stated that the Cabinet expansion illustrated BJP’s emergence as a pan-India party. “You go to any part of India, you will see a significant presence of the BJP, even in states where it is not in power. It is not just a Hindi belt party anymore as its political opponents would say. This can be seen in the Cabinet expansion too,” he said.
The party general secretary stated that the BJP leadership, for long, had been working to break the image of it being a Hindi belt and a Brahmin-Baniya-Kshatriya party, as that image did not help it attract talents from other states and communities. “The leadership has been successful in this endeavour to a very large extent. You pick any state and you will find that either we are in power, or we are the main opposition party or have been in either of these two positions in the recent past. Look at West Bengal; which is perhaps the most visible example of how we have expanded in the last few years. Caste-wise too, we are now being regarded as the first choice for individuals from backward communities who want to join politics. Was it possible earlier?” he asked.