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Cabinet reshuffle: Visible RSS imprint on new-look Modi team

india Updated: Nov 09, 2014 16:42 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Narendra Modi

The first reshuffle of the Narendra Modi ministry on Sunday has a visible RSS imprint with over half-a-dozen ministers coming from a Sangh Parivar background.

Notable among the new entrants is Hansraj Ahir, the four-time MP from Chandrapur which is also the native place of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

Ahir, credited with exposing the coal block allocation scam, is very close to Bhagwat and is a regular visitor to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur.

Sangh insiders said that Bhagwat had a detailed discussion with Modi, Rajnath Singh and party president Amit Shah along with his RSS colleagues Bhaiyyaji Joshi and Suresh Soni, about the cabinet reshuffle in September-end and suggested some names for inclusion in the cabinet.

A list of favourites was also subsequently submitted to Modi through Krishna Gopal, the new pointsman between the RSS and the BJP, a few days ago, a senior RSS pracharak informed.

According to Sangh sources, Manohar Parrikar, Hansraj Ahir, JP Nadda, Bandaru Dattatreya, Giriraj Singh, Dr Mohan Sharma and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti are among the ones handpicked by the Sangh.

The RSS, which has always been the BJP’s guiding force, had even recommended Parrikar for the party presidentship in 2009 before Nitin Gadkari was replaced by Rajnath Singh.

However, the former Goa chief minister missed the bus when he compared party patriarch LK Advani to a “rancid pickle” and said his “period” was over.

Parrikar enjoys good rapport with Bhagwat, RSS general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi and other senior leaders, the sources said.

Sources said that through the reshuffle, Modi may have succeeded in soothing the frayed nerves in the Parivar which had taken exception to his allegedly “autocratic” style of functioning.

In fact, RSS chief Bhagwat had expressed displeasure during the Sangh’s Agra meeting over the functioning of Modi government and asked the swayamsevaks to adopt a “wait and watch” approach while dealing with the government at the centre.

RSS sources here feel that the inclusion of former RJD leader Ramkripal Yadav, former Congress and Jat leader Choudhary Birendra Singh, Jayant Sinha (son of former finance minister Yashwant Sinha), Vijay Sampla, Ram Kripal Yadhav, playback singer Babul Supriya and others is a compulsion for Modi to accommodate all sections of people and regions for smooth functioning of the government.

Though Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are not RSS choices but they too have good working relation with bigwigs of RSS in Nagpur.

Naqvi is the preferred Muslim face within the Sangh because of his moderate views on the RSS and that fact that he belongs to the Shia community.