Modi Cabinet: Merged ministries, min government, max governance
Prime minister-elect Narendra Modi on on Sunday, in a statement released late at night, emphasised on minimum government and maximum governance, a motto long associated with his stint as thrice victorious Gujarat chief minister. Stressing on ‘convergence of activities of various ministries’ as well as ‘downsizing’ of top layer of the cabinet, Modi kept his party colleagues, allies and mentors in the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) on tenterhooks regarding the composition of his cabinet, which would be sworn-in along with him on Monday evening in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. According to well-placed sources, while it was difficult to get an indication about any sure names there were definite signs of the team being lean, mean and composite and its numbers not crossing 20.
The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for 6 pm and President Pranab Mukherjee will host a banquet for the visiting heads of state at 8 pm. This points to the possibility of the official function of the making of the new Indian cabinet not extending beyond 90 minutes, signifying that there would not be very many individuals to be sworn in. Before arriving for the swearing-in, Modi is scheduled to visit Raj Ghat, the samadhi of father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. At the time of going to the Press, President’s secretariat was yet to receive the list of ministers to be sworn in along with prime minister-designate. The warrant of appointment for the ministers is issued by the President’s office.
During the course of the day, prime minister designate held several rounds of consultation with senior party leaders and also allies like Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. Senior party leader Arun Jaitley also held a meeting with RSS pointsman Suresh Soni to discuss the composition of the new ministry. A discussion was also held on the name of the next Speaker of Lok Sabha. Sources said, party veteran LK Advani was not being considered for the position. Sources also said that longest-serving woman parliamentarian Sumitra Mahajan and outgoing deputy speaker Karia Munda, a tribal leader, were being considered for the post.