In constituting his new cabinet, chief minister Narendra Modi appears to have done a fine balancing act between claims of different castes and the four regions of Gujarat for equal representation. The new Modi ministry, which has 16 ministers, is successful in giving fairly equal representation to different castes and regions. However, there is scope for more of the same as there is room for induction of at least 10 more ministers.
While eight of the 16 ministers were in the previous cabinet too, the other eight can be considered as newcomers in government. Nitin Patel, Anandiben Patel, Ramanlal Vora have been repeated as cabinet ministers while Saurabh Patel has been promoted to cabinet rank.
Senior leaders like Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Babu Bokhiria, who were ministers in earlier governments, have again been appointed cabinet ministers. The only surprise at the cabinet rank is Ganpat Vasava who was Speaker in the last
Similarly among ministers of state, five are from the previous government. These are Vasuben Trivedi, Pradipsinh Jadeja, Parbat Patel, Liladhar Vaghela, and Parshottam Solanki. There are four new faces in this rank — Jayanti Kavadiya, Nanu Vanuni, Rajanikant Patel and Govind Patel.
The BJP lost many seats in North Gujarat in the just concluded assembly elections. Yet this part of Gujarat has got more ministers as compared to other regions of the state.
There is Nitin Patel (Mehsana constituency); Ramanlal Patel (Idar-SC); Liladhar Vaghela (Deesa); Rajanikant Patel (Becharaji); and Parbat Patel (Tharad constituency).
The same holds true for Saurashtra region. Despite BJP losing several seats here, five ministers in the cabinet are from this part of the state. Those from Saurashtra are Govind Patel (Rajkot South); Babu Bokhiria (Porbandar); Jayanti Kavadia (Dhrangadhra); Parshottam Solanki (Bhavnagar); and Vasuben Trivedi (Jamnagar South).
South Gujarat appears to have received less representation. Ganpat Vasava (Mangrol-ST) and Nanu Vanani from Katargam are the only ministers from the region.
Anandiben Patel (Ghatlodia); Bhupendrasinh Chudasama (Dholka); and Pradipsinh Jadeja (Vatva) represent Ahmedabad city and rural Ahmedabad. Saurabh Patel (Akota) is the only face from Central Gujarat.
Then there are ministers considered close to the RSS. Nitin Patel and Rajanikant Patel were able to keep their relations intact with RSS leaders despite inter-organization politics.
Caste equations have also been kept in mind in choosing members for the new cabinet. There seven ministers from the Patel community. Nitin Patel, Anandiben Patel, Rajanikant Patel and Jayanti Kavadia are from Kadva Patel community while Saurabh Patel, Nanu Vanani and Govind Patel are Leuva Patels.
Interestingly, Govind Patel is the only BJP MLA from Leuva Patel community who was able to win from Saurashtra.
The Kshatriya community has two representatives — Bhupendrasinh Chudasama and Pradipsinh Jadeja.
Apart from this, the Mer community of Porbandar has also got a representative in Babu Bokhiria. Vasuben Trivedi is from the Brahmin community while Parbat Patel is a representative of the Chaudhary community in the government.
Similarly, Parshottam Solanki represents Koli community in the new cabinet while Ramanlal Vora, Liladhar Vaghela and Ganpat Vasava represent the Dalit, OBC (other backward classes) and tribal communities respectively. Women have got representation through leaders like Anandiben Patel and Vasuben Trivedi.