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South India under-represented in Team Modi

The expansion of Narendra Modi’s ministry on Sunday failed to break one stereotype associated with BJP – that it overwhelmingly remains a party rooted in the north of the Vindhyas.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2014 18:59 IST
Prashant Jha

The expansion of Narendra Modi’s ministry on Sunday failed to break one stereotype associated with BJP – that it overwhelmingly remains a party rooted in the north of the Vindhyas.

There are only nine representatives from five southern states in the 66-member council of ministers.

None of the four cabinet ministers added on Sunday are from the south.

In all, the cabinet has four southern ministers – M Venkaiah Naidu, DV Sadananda Gowda, Ananth Kumar and Ashok Gajhapati Raju Pusapati.

Naidu is a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka, Gowda and Kumar are Lok Sabha MPs from the same state and Pusapati is a Telegu Desam Party leader from Andhra Pradesh.

Tamil Nadu and Kerala go unrepresented in the cabinet.

A glance at the list of ministers of state reveals that the balance is better, but only slightly. On Sunday, two MOS’ were added -- Bandaru Dattatreya from Telangana and YS Chowdary of TDP from Andhra.

This is in addition to Nirmala Sitharaman (a Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra), GM Siddeswara (Karnataka) and Radhakrishnan P (Tamil Nadu).

The selection of ministers is a product of political strength and representation. The fact that BJP has a lot fewer MPs from the south than north means there is a limited pool from which they can select.

Under the UPA, the pattern was the reverse -- 26 out of 78 came from four southern states in 2009.