Next Modi Cabinet

There is much speculation about the next Modi Cabinet though, of course, only two men know the answer—the PM and party president Amit Shah. There is much speculation as to which post Amit Shah will hold, though conventional wisdom (not that this holds much in the new set up) is that he will get the Home Ministry. There is also a rumour that in case Arun Jaitley opts out of the government, then the finance portfolio could go to either Shah or Piyush Goyal. Then comes the question of Rajnath Singh who was Home Minister during the earlier government. Would he be shifted to Defence, for someone of his heft needs to be a part of the Big 4 i.e. the CCS that comprises of Defence, Home, Finance and Foreign Affairs? Since Sushma Swaraj is no longer an MP, she may not get a Cabinet berth, but could be accommodated at a gubernatorial post. What is also up for grabs is the post of the Speaker since Sumitra Mahajan is no longer an MP. Who will the Modi-Shah appoint in her place—the names of both Rajnath Singh (who would not be very happy with this charge) and Harshvardhan Singh (who would be happy with this, given that Manoj Tiwari’s name is doing the rounds as the party’s CM face in the next Delhi polls), are doing the rounds. The allies, too, have to be accommodated and apart from the JDU, Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, there is the LJP, where Chirag Paswan is tipped to enter the Council of Ministers. The young scion was also praised by the PM during the Bihar Assembly polls and if the PM has to choose between father and son, the post may go to the son.

Decoding Nitish Kumar

Despite the party’s sweep in the Lok Sabha polls, the Bihar Chief Minister wore an unusually glum look when the results poured in. One view is that he was hoping for a coalition government where allies would have more heft and in that case, he could prove to be a balancing factor in a BJP dominated government. That is not the case anymore, for though the JDU will be accommodated, it would be more a case of the BJP obliging its allies more than anything else. Second, he knows that in the Bihar Assembly polls due next year, there is all likelihood that the BJP would press for its own CM face and not back his claims, for there is a feeling within the party that the BJP gave away too many seats to the JDU in Bihar during the Lok Sabha polls. Oh well!

The Answer is on The Table

During the elections, Congress leader and party strategist Ahmed Patel was so used to visitors coming to him with the inevitable question asking “what is your prediction for the polls” that he devised an ingenious method to save time and effort. Visitors to his office were immediately given a slip of paper from a pile of notes on his desk. The slip contained his poll prediction. Of course, that the party could not even notch up half his predicted numbers tells its own story.

Shah’s No to Cong Gen Next

Before the elections, there were a handful of Congress’ GenNext leaders (most of them dynasts) who reached out to the BJP. However, when their names came up before Amit Shah, he is said to have rejected the proposal with a dismissive wave asking—what use have we of them! Clearly, in his scheme of things, the only name that counted was a prominent non-dynast chaiwala-turned-chowkidar.

 

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