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Modi to induct youngsters, allies as ministers

By R RAJAGOPALAN
February 14, 2020 08:44 IST

Among the names being mentioned for inclusion as ministers are Tejasvi Surya, the 29-year-old MP from Bangalore South, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, the 35-year-old MP from Ladakh, Locket Chatterjee, the 45-year old MP from Hooghly, and Dilip Ghosh, MP from West Medinipur and president of the BJP's West Bengal unit.
R Rajagopalan reports.

IMAGE: Bharatiya Janata Party President Jagat Prakash Nadda, Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi. Photograph: ANI Photo
 

Following the Bharatiya Janata Party's electoral debacle in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi has initiated an exercise to overhaul his council of ministers as well as revamp the organistion in tune with BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda's thinking.

By early April, Janata Dal-United, YSR Congress and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders will be inducted into the Union council of ministers.

While Bihar goes to the polls in October, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu will go to the polls next year.

The process of consultations on giving the Modi ministry a new look is currently underway and will be completed in the next few weeks, sources said.

On February 11, the day the Delhi election results were announced, Union Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah and his successor as BJP president Nadda held a two hour meeting with Modi, at which a draft proposal to revamp the party organisation is also said to have figured.

Despite the pushback from senior BJP leaders who fear that they may be replaced, Modi is expected to go ahead with inducting younger leaders into his council of ministers.

When the BJP's central parliamentary board is reconstituted by early March, many of these senior leaders will be inducted as general secretaries in Team Nadda.

Among the names being mentioned for inclusion as ministers are Tejasvi Surya, the 29-year-old MP from Bangalore South, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, the 35-year-old MP from Ladakh, Locket Chatterjee, the 45-year old MP from Hooghly, and Dilip Ghosh, MP from West Medinipur and president of the BJP's West Bengal unit.

Apart from these inductions, speculation is rife that some ministers will be dropped, including the controversial Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, he of the 'desh ke gaddaron ko' notoriety.

Even as the BJP's Big Three held deliberations, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy flew into New Delhi for a meeting with Modi on Wednesday. Modi asked him to meet Shah as well, and Reddy will once again fly to New Delhi on Friday for the meeting.

The formula that is being worked out with the NDA partners will be on these lines: The YSR Congress, with 22 MPs in Lok Sabha, will get one Cabinet rank and one MoS post as will the JD-U with 16 MPs.

The AIADMK has only one MP, but it may still get two MoS posts, it is expected, keeping in mind the dynamics between Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.

Sources said the YSR Congress might propose P V Mithun Reddy, the MP from Rajampet, and V Vijayasai Reddy, a Rajya Sabha member, as ministers.

From the AIADMK, it will be O P Raveendranath Kumar, the MP from Theni and Panneerselvam's son, along with R Vaithilingam, a Rajya Sabha member and a confidant of Palaniswami.

The JD-U might nominate Rajiv Ranjan 'Lalan' Singh, the MP from Munger, and Kavita Singh, the MP from Siwan.

Whichever way you look at it, the buzz in Delhi is that the assembly election debacle has given the BJP a severe jolt, and if an overhaul of the organisation and ministry is not done now, Modi's image is bound to suffer.

This has added a sense of urgency to the whole exercise.

R RAJAGOPALAN in New Delhi
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