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PM Modi strangely disconnected from cabinet rejig exercise, says Congress

It seemed as if BJP president Amit Shah is the Prime Minister of India and not Narendra Modi, said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2017 23:35 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Reshuffle of Modi cabinet,Cabinet reshuffle,Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (3rd left), President Ramnath Kovind (3rd R) and vice-president Venkiah Naidu (2nd R), pose with the newly sworn-in ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (L), Dharmendra Pradhan (2nd L) and Piyush Goyal (R) in New Delhi on Sunday.(AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet reshuffle evoked mixed response from the opposition, with the Congress claiming that dropping of ministers was admission of his government’s “gigantic failure” even as National Conference leader Omar Abdullah praised him for allocating defence portfolio to Nirmala Sitharaman.

“The Council of Ministers may not be gender balanced but the High Table most certainly is. Well done @narendramodi ji,” Abdullah said on Twitter. “3+ years as PM & @narendramodi’s ability to spring big surprises is undiminished & unchallenged. Never fails to catch talking heads off guard,” he said in another tweet.

However, the main opposition party said the reshuffle reflected ‘maximum government and no governance’, claiming that Modi “seemed strangely disconnected” from the exercise.

“It seemed as if BJP president Amit Shah is the Prime Minister of India and not Narendra Modi. Never ever has the absence of the Prime Minister in a cabinet reshuffle process been more evident,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

He said relieving skill development minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) minister Kalraj Mishra meant no skilling and no employment generation besides wiping out of the MSME sector.

“The real story is in the dropping and that is where the admission of the gigantic failure of this government comes,” Tewari said.

He said the PM had created a “senior citizens club” as the average age of the nine new ministers is 60.44 years, in a country where the median age of India's 1.24 billion people is about 27 years.

“Out of nine new ministers, four are former bureaucrats, one is a doctor-beater and the other four are inconsequential. What is the message? It is clear that the PM does not have faith in his political colleagues,” he said.

Criticising the inclusion of Anantkumar Hegde in the Union council of ministers, the Congress leader alleged that he has been inducted with the “sole intent of trying to communalise” the situation in Karnataka.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad mocked former partner, Janata Dal (United) and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, for being left out of Sunday’s reshuffle.

“No one bothers with the monkey who strays from the group,” Prasad, who was dumped by the JD(U) in favour of the BJP, tweeted in Hindi an hour after the reshuffle.

“They didn't even get invites (oath ceremony). One who leaves his people won't be taken in by others. It's Nitish Kumar's fate,” he said.

First Published: Sep 03, 2017 23:34 IST