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A Dialogue With JC: Achhe Din to New India - Modi reshuffles his cabinet to achieve goal

The cabinet reshuffle has taken everyone by surprise. The unexpected appointment of Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister was the biggest surprise. Then induction of former bureaucrats in the cabinet also raised many an eyebrow. But as a show of Modi and Shah, the reshuffle seems to have gone down well with the party. Jagdeesh Chandra, CEO ZMCL, unravels the theories and parameters behind the reshuffle. He also analyses the challenges which are likely to come up before ministers in their new roles. An excerpt:

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A Dialogue With JC: Achhe Din to New India - Modi reshuffles his cabinet to achieve goal
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The cabinet reshuffle has taken everyone by surprise. The unexpected appointment of Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister was the biggest surprise. Then induction of former bureaucrats in the cabinet also raised many an eyebrow. But as a show of Modi and Shah, the reshuffle seems to have gone down well with the party. Jagdeesh Chandra, CEO ZMCL, unravels the theories and parameters behind the reshuffle. He also analyses the challenges which are likely to come up before ministers in their new roles. An excerpt:

► What is the vision of Modi and Amit Shah behind cabinet reshuffle and expansion?

It’s very difficult to know and understand the mindset of Modi and Amit Shah. But we can say that there were few parameters which formed the basis of cabinet reshuffle. For example non-performers must be replaced with performers and loyalists. Second, there was a specific message to express that at end of the day, delivery counts and third parameter was that balance has to be maintained keeping in mind the 2019 elections. And the fourth parameter probably could be to give a message that country is slowly moving to a presidential form of governance by incorporating retired bureaucrats at very important and key positions... a newspaper wrote that in Narendra Modi government, everything boils down to Modi and Amit Shah... cabinet expansion is just a formality. All decisions are taken by Amit Shah and Modi.... this is not a reshuffle. This is just replacing a mask from one face to another. That’s why Congress said that if every decision has to be taken by Modi and Shah then what’s the need of cabinet expansion. But in my opinion, this reshuffle has a definite strategy, a definite vision, a definite game plan of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

► Will there still be leadership changes in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh governments?

I don’t think so... it seems possibilities of any change in leadership of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments do not exist anymore. Then focus of Modi has shifted from assembly elections to 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In such a situation, it doesn’t look like there will be change of any chief minister... one interesting discussion is also going on that there is likelihood of conducting both, assembly and Lok Sabha elections together. And there may be Presidential Rule enacted during the gap between these two elections. In totally, it may be inferred that chief ministers will not be changed.

► Has Prime Minister changed his poll slogan of Acchhe Din?

Some people say that Prime minister has replaced the poll slogan :Acchhe Din Aaayenge” with New India. Modi and Amit Shah are fully confident that they will rule till 2024. Modi will remain as Prime Minister.

► Besides Modi and Shah, was there any role of Arun Jaitley in this reshuffle? What are the challenges before Jaitley today?

In this government, Arun Jaitley is the third power centre. He had a strategic role in this reshuffle... and it is clearly visible that appointments of Piyush Goyal and Sitharaman are based on Jaitley’s recommendations.

As far as his own ministry is concerned, he looks cornered. The biggest challenge is perception... GDP is at 5% which is lowest in last three years... it’s an embarrassment for him. The second challenge is the statement of RBI which says that only 1% black money didn’t return to mainstream. The denominations of currency which were banned are back in banks in one or the other way. The third embarrassment is statement of RBI Governor which says that I (Governor) was not taken into confidence before announcing the demonetisation. So these are the challenges of perceptions which Jaitley has to overcome for Modi and Amit Shah.

► What was the biggest surprise in this cabinet reshuffle?

Amit Shah and Modi are known to spring surprises. And the biggest surprise in this reshuffle was the appointment of Sitharaman as Defence Minister. Second big surprise was giving key ministerial posts to ex-bureaucrats.

► What are the challenges before Nitin Gadkari? Will he be able to deal with fire-brand Uma Bharati?

The biggest challenge before Nitin Gadkari is... reviving Ganga Rejuvenation ministry... achieve the incomplete works of Uma Bharti but after the oath taking, it seems that the goal post of the ministry has changed. Initially there were talks of cleaning up of rivers, now people are discussing about linking the rivers. Then it looks difficult to decide whether his priority would be Ganga or linking of rivers.

► On the footprints of game-changer schemes like Ujjwala, will Dharmendra Pradhan be able to pull out any miracle in skill development?

This is the fact that Ujjwala has been proved as a game-changer scheme. Modi played a master card. He gave responsibility of providing free LPG connection to women to Dharmendra Pradhan. As far as skill is concerned, this is another aspect close to PM’s heart. He had said that 40 crore people should be skilled by 2022. Now it’s to be seen whether Dharmendra Pradhan is able to repeat the miracle he has pulled out in Ujjwala.

► Why Arjun Meghwal could not become Lt. Governor of Puducherry eventually? Why Nitin Gadkari demanded for him in Ganga ministry?

No one believed that a young (junior) minister like Meghwal could be made Lt. Governor of Puducherry ... people of Meghwal camp, however, say that Nitin Gadkari demanded for him in Ganga ministry. Only Nitin Gadkari can give answer to this question.

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