NOT IN: Maneka, Jayant Sinha, Prabhu, Rathode dumped, Sushma and Jaitley not in as Modi forms second government

NEW DELHI: BJP chief Amit Shah entered the second Modi ministry that was sworn in on Thursday evening by President Ram Nath Kovind, while Rajnath Singh will be the second-in-command in the government. Shah is new to central government though he had been home minister in Gujarat under a Modi ministry. The 58-member ministry has 25 cabinet members.

A notable new entrant is former foreign secretary S Jayashankar.

Notable omissions from the previous ministry this time are Arun Jaitley, who excused himself due to health reasons, and Sushma Swaraj, who too has some health constraints, and did not find a place in the new ministry. Suresh Prabhu could not come back to the ministry this time. Another notable omission is of Maneka Gandhi, as also RajyaVardhan Rathod from Rajasthan and Jayant Sinha, son of Yashwant Sinha who often sought to pull Modi’s leg in recent times. JP Nadda from Himachal Pradesh too could not get a berth this time. He might be the new BJP chief.

Others who could not get back to the ministry this time were Radha Mohan Singh, KJ Alphons, Uma  Bharti who opted out, tribal leader from Odisha Juel Oram, and Vijay Goel. Also out is General VK Singh.

There is no hint as to who would take the place of Amit Shah as party chief. It will be someone who can team up with Modi, like bread and cheese. Together, it should be palatable to the party’s rank and file.

The portfolios will be distributed on Friday. Both Nirmala Sitharaman and Smrithi Irani are part of the new ministry, so are Piyush Goel, Nitin Gadkari etc.

The original list was of 60 ministers. However, the JDU of Nitish Kumar rejected the offer one ministry each to each of the BJP allies. He wanted a minimum of two. The Shiv Sena has joined the ministry but is not happy with just one berth. A promise is that a ministry expansion is likely at a later stage and the requests from allies could be considered.

Among the large 7,000-strong gathering at Rashtrapati Bhavan lawns were Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, BJP’s LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, SP leader Mulayam Singh, southern superstar Rajinikant, Tamil Nadu chief minister Palaniswamy, BJP chief ministers, foreign dignitaries and those from the Business sector like Mukesh Amba ni and Ratan Tata. –IHN-NN

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