- Recently carried out major Cabinet overhaul in the Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre stands out for springing few unanticipated surprises as well as political compulsions dictating such moves. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has all along maintained that it is a party with a difference never letting go of an opportunity to drive home this point. It is well known by now that the two national parties viz. the BJP and the Congress go for each other’s jugular highlighting how different their political ideologies on matters concerning governance are.
- On closer scrutiny of the Cabinet, expansion/reshuffle undertaken by Modi would show there is hardly any difference in their approaches whilst reaching out to address the vexed caste conundrum. Keen observers of the political landscape in the country would have no hesitation in remarking that addressing complexities surrounding caste identity is extremely challenging vis-à-vis candidate selection at every level of elections as well as the subsequent formation of the government. This is true for every single layer of governance right from the village panchayat level to Union Cabinet as caste equations essays a defining role.
PC: Ayshee Bhaduri
- Getting the right caste combination might prove to be tougher than winning an election itself. Ask any major political parties in the country for an affirmative answer. No wonder, most of the regional parties hold sway over the national parties sometimes making or breaking the very formation of the government. Against this backdrop, the party with a difference has had to scrupulously select candidates for the revamped Union Cabinet without disturbing the delicate balancing necessitating accommodation of various caste denominations. It is prima facie evidence that the PM’s reshuffle was primarily driven by the underpinnings of social calculus even applying to some of the shocking exits undertaken during the exercise.
- It has been widely reported that this is a younger team, the youngest in recent history with average age down from 61 to 58 years. True it is a professionally more qualified team with better-educated ministers, business leaders, and former civil servants entrusted with manning it. Ironically, the Hindutva party with an avowed proclamation seeking to unite the Hindu majority against the divisive politics of caste identity pursued by its opponents should draw the media’s attention highlighting the new council’s composition would have 12 ministers belonging to Scheduled Castes, 8 to Scheduled Tribes, and 27 Other Backward Castes (OBCs) is a misnomer.
PC: Feel The Words
- Amply clear the focus right now remains on a slew of crucial assembly elections to Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Uttarakhand in 2021 and a few others are due in 2022. Note that Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Telangana will go to the polls in 2023. How the BJP will perform in these assembly elections will define the context for the general elections scheduled in 2024. Irrespective of in which way the wind will blow in these assembly elections, what matters is the state of the economy and the accompanying polity that will decide on the eventual outcome during the Parliamentary election in 2024.
- Unarguably, there is no worthy leader endowed with the necessary wherewithal to take on Narendra Modi and hence, offers no immediate threat to his leadership. However, it does not preclude his government from comprehending the gravity of the economic situation, institutional decay, and the seriousness of the level of social and political disaffection prevalent across the country. People will watch keenly how things will unfold on these fronts.