Modi's message via reshuffle: Keep up the pace

  • Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 06, 2014 23:22 IST

It has been an open secret that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a man in hurry, quick to take decisions and open to the idea of revisiting them later. And that he expects everyone - from his ministerial colleagues to key civil servants - to keep pace.

This would be the message this Sunday when Modi carries out the first reshuffle of his team less than six months after taking charge as the PM in May. Modi is expected to induct Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, possibly as defence minister, and promote some junior ministers to drive home the point that performers with “clean, no nonsense” image would rise in his government.

On May 26, Modi had gone for a very small council of ministers -- 23 cabinet ministers and 22 ministers of state (MoS) to reflect his maxim: “Maximum governance, minimum government”.

His experience over the next 160 days, however, appears to have convinced the PM that a very small team came with its own set of problems.

For one, it was “overburdening” his efficient ministers without any commensurate advantage. There were ministers who had two – some had even three -- portfolios that had them shuttling between offices located in different buildings. So much so, a minister’s wife even complained to a senior minister about her husband spending sleepless nights poring over files.

The expansion would also help strike the ‘regional balance’ in his team.

Gopinath Munde’s death in a road accident on June 3 had reduced Maharashtra’s representation. And Modi also needed to assuage Rajasthan leaders who felt the state deserved more than just one berth for delivering a Congress-free state in the LS polls.

Also, the BJP couldn’t have afforded to keep Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal – that didn’t have a face in his team -- waiting any longer. Its leaders in West Bengal had given Mamata Bannerjee sleepless nights and those in the two hill states, ensured a clean sweep for the BJP.

It is still not clear if Modi will show the door to any of his colleagues but there is speculation that he could go as far as dropping one or two ministers if he concludes they weren’t able to deliver.

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