NEW DELHI: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi getting a brand new mandate, how would his ministerial team look like? The big name doing the rounds is that of BJP chief Amit Shah, with party insiders saying he could be the new finance minister.
Modi is likely to effect a generational change in his council of ministers, with fresh faces getting space with minister of state portfolio, besides induction of professionals.
The sense within the BJP is that Modi will have a free hand in picking his ministerial team unlike in 2014 when he had acceded to suggestions of the then BJP chief Rajnath Singh and leaders of the RSS.
Giantkiller Smriti Irani, who defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, is expected to get a meatier berth.
“A few senior leaders, including Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari, are likely to retain their portfolios. Singh may also retain his number two position in the Cabinet. Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, on account of his health, may be dropped. If Shah gets the finance portfolio, it will give him a place on the high table of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS),” sources said, adding Shah is keen to retain his position as BJP president.
Though the BJP has a one-man, one-post policy, party leaders cite the example of Vijay Sampla, who is the BJP’s Punjab unit chief as well as a minister in the outgoing Modi ministry.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s position is shaky, as sources say Modi wants a new law minister. A few members from Amit Shah’s team, including party vice-president Vinay Sahashrabuddhe and general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, are likely to be accommodated in the Union Cabinet.
Besides, consolidation of ministries with similar and overlapping functions could happen. For example, ministries of surface transport, railways and civil aviation could be clubbed.