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Modi's ministers: Who will stay, who will go?

May 21, 2016 12:27 IST

Prime Minister Narendra was the first to reveal that Narendra Modi was planning to shuffle his ministers.
Archis Mohan on who may come in and who may go out.

Seniors in the ruling party and government say it is unlikely to be anything more than filling of vacancies. However, there is also a view that the PM could use the opportunity to prepare for the Bharatiya Janata Party's campaign for the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab assembly polls in early 2017.

The PM will need to find a replacement for Sarbananda Sonowal at the ministry of youth and sports. Sonowal is likely to be sworn in as the Assam chief minister early next week.

Another vacancy has arisen after Minister of State for Social Justice Vijay Kumar Sampla was appointed Punjab BJP chief. He is a Dalit leader (the comunity is nearly a third of Punjab's population) and his going there is to do with the coming assembly polls.

Some in the party believe former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has recently become a Rajya Sabha member, could fill the vacancy left by Sonowal.

Sidhu is spoken in some quarters as the BJP's face for the Punjab elections if the party were to break its alliance with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal there, to blunt the 10-year anti-incumbency mood against the government. Apart from the recent popularity there of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Other appointments could be made with an eye on the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. There is talk of Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh striking a seat adjustment with the BJP. The latter has, however, insisted till now that the Jat leader merge his party into the BJP.

There could also be some more faces from UP inducted, at the expense of some of the BJP's ministers from Bihar. A couple of them, perceived to have been low performers, might be sent back to their home state to work for the party.

There is also a view that some of the more talented MPs should be included in the council of ministers, while divesting at least one charge from those handling more than one ministerial portfolio.

Apart from UP and Punjab, early 2017 will also see elections to the Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa assemblies.

Two years into power, Modi Sarkar goes back to the people

PM to launch outreach campaign with a rally in UP on May 26, ministers to visit 200 cities in 2 weeks, reports Nivedita Mookerji.

Buoyed by the Bharatiya Janata Party's spectacular show in the assembly elections, the Narendra Modi government is gearing up for a country-wide celebration to mark two years in office.

If the run-up to the second anniversary of the Modi government has been thick and fast in Delhi, the real action is yet to begin.

From that day, Modi's ministerial colleagues will travel to remote corners to convey the message of 'development' and 'good governance.'

On May 26, the day Modi completes two years in office, he will travel to UP, a state that goes to the polls next year.

While the PM will set the mood for celebrations in a city that has been named among the 98 probables for the ambitious Smart City project, central ministers will take charge in different parts of the country, telling large gatherings about the government's achievements in the past two years.

Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said starting May 26, 33 ministers will travel across the country for a fortnight to inform the masses about the Modi government's achievements.

Many ministers have had to put off their summer vacations while some others may have preferred cooler climes.

According to a government source, the instruction from the "top" is that no minister must repeat a state during the two-week "anniversary duty."

Roughly, each minister would cover six cities, which also means six states. That would involve a lot of travelling in just two weeks.

"We will report to the people how we have kept our promises," Naidu said, explaining the objective behind the rallies.

Archis Mohan and Nivedita Mukerji