New Delhi: Narendra Modi’s much talked about Cabinet reshuffle has caused a significant heartburn in a BJP.
Simply put, at the root of their pain lie the ministerial berths given to four former bureaucrats and the elevation of Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal to important Cabinet positions, despite being “political lightweights”.
Point to be noted here is that the four former civil servants – former diplomat Hardeep Puri, former IAS officers RK Singh and Alphons Kannathanam and former top cop Satyapal Singh – all of whom have been made ministers of state. What is not going out well with BJP loyalists is that two of the new ministers – Puri and Kannathanam – are not even MPs as of now.
“Are they capable of winning an election? This holds true for even Sitharaman and Goyal. Can they even contest an election?” a party leader fumed.
With more than a year left for the 2019 general elections, the rejig was expected to push the accelerator button on the implementation of several key policies as government has been facing flak for its underperformance.
Rather than that it has opened the party to criticism from outside as well as from within. While the inclusion of former bureaucrats has given the Opposition a chance to accuse the BJP of suffering a deficit of talent, many party leaders are upset that “outsiders” have been chosen.
“Neither merit nor loyalty is being rewarded. Why was Nirmala Sitharaman promoted? There was nothing to write home about her performance as commerce minister. And why do Suresh Prabhu and Radhamohan Singh continue to hold important portfolios despite a below par performance?” asked another party leader from a northern state.
Not much of a surprise that the final list came as a shock to lots of leaders who were confident of making the cut. It is no coincidence that all those within the BJP who have been left disappointed have put in years of hard work for the BJP, even when the party was in Opposition.
“People, who have been serving the party for years, how should they feel when outsiders having no political background, are made ministers? It is not about becoming or not becoming a minister, it is about the loud message that has been sent- that the leadership has little faith on the elected members,” said a party leader.
“The rejig is a stamp of approval on the claims that BJP has a talent crunch,” the leader added.