Shah, Jaishankar makes Modi 2.0 cabinet interesting

Modi 2.0 has now been unveiled. The biggest-ever event at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, a swearing-in ceremony attended by over 8000 guests, saw many of the old, familiar faces returning. There were new entrants too.

The most prominent of these was Amit Shah. In all, 25 Cabinet ministers were sworn in.  A big late evening surprise was the inclusion of former foreign secretary S Jaishankar in the Cabinet. This came with news that Sushma Swaraj has opted out of the new government. Jaishankar is now expected to replace her as Foreign Minister.

Among women, Smriti Irani made it to the ministry as expected. The new queen of Amethi is expected to be rewarded with a meatier berth. Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal were among the other prominent ministers to retain their posts.

The outgoing ministers whose names do not figure in the new cabinet include JP Nadda. Speculation is rife that he may succeed Amit Shah as BJP president. Other ministers to have been dropped include Suresh Prabhu and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. Maneka Gandhi, who is also not in the ministry, is likely to be the pro tem Speaker.

Key ally JD (U) decided to opt out of government as it was reportedly only offered one berth. Nitish Kumar’s party will, though, remain in the NDA. Both Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi attended the swearing-in as expected.  The ceremony ended with Prime Minister Modi thanking the gathering.

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