PM Cabinet Expansion and controversy
The Prime Minister has tried to re-seize the political initiative with his Wednesday reshuffle of the council of ministers, “Since April, he has been on the back foot. When the second Covid-19 wave hit the country, many died reportedly from oxygen shortages and a general lack of government preparedness. Losing West Bengal also did not help… Few had believed that Narendra Modi could ax a dozen ministers, for it would amount to admitting that all had not been well,” she states.
But that is precisely what he did on Wednesday. He sacked 12 ministers, particularly those at the head of ministries, which had brought criticism to the government in the last year and more, The PM has signaled that he wants a purposeful government. Protecting Brand Modi was an important part of the exercise. By holding only ministers responsible, the PM has made a distinction between those individuals and the Modi sarkar.
The new Cabinet is likely to have a record 12 SC ministers having representation from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu. About 12 backward communities including Chamar-Ramdassia, Khatik, Pasi, Kori, Madiga, Mahar, Arundathiyar, Meghwal, Rajbonshi, Matua-Namashudra, Dhangar, Dusadh are likely to be represented.
As far as women empowerment is concerned, there will be 11 women ministers from across nine states and nine communities while there will be 2 women cabinet ministers, Cabinet expansion came to the first surprise in the form of the resignation of Union health minister Harshvardhan and his deputy Ashwini Choubey, the health minister was the face and his ministry the nodal point for all Union actions.
Harsh Vardhan’s remark “We are in the end game of the Covid-19 pandemic in India” in March 2021, days before the severe second wave struck the country became a huge embarrassment for him as well as the government, Ravi Shankar Prasad was another high-profile minister to be dropped from the Union Cabinet. While it may be difficult to guess any specific reason for his sacking, the minister’s handling of the new IT rules lately had run into controversy. His bitter run-ins with the social media platform Twitter over the issue may not have helped his cause. Another surprise exit from the Union Cabinet was Prakash Javadekar, who was a key spokesperson defending the party and the government for years at various forums
Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, the education minister in the Modi Cabinet till now, has also been left out. Possibly the issue of confusion over important examination dates for Class 12th students due to the pandemic may have contributed towards his exit, Besides these leaders, chemicals and fertilizers minister D V Sadananda Gowda, labor minister Santosh Gangwar, minister of state for education Sanjay Dhotre, minister of state for women and child development Debasree Chaudhuri, minister of state for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria and minister of state for environment Babul Supriyo were also dropped from the Union Cabinet.
Babul Supriyo took to Facebook to say that he was “asked to resign”. He also said that “he was sad”. However, as an afterthought, the BJP MP from Bengal soon added a correction saying “he had resigned”. To say that “he had been asked to resign” was not correct, he added.
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