Sensing discontent among seniors in the party with the attempt to sideline Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in crucial Cabinet committees, almost 17 hours after he was left out of six of eight meaty Cabinet committees, the government released a revised list adding his name to four panels amidst buzz that he had threatened to quit.
When the PIB released its first list at 5.57 am, the defence minister’s name figured in only the security and economic affairs committees. Home minister Amit Shah was the only minister in all Cabinet committees. It was widely read as reducing the clout of Rajnath, who otherwise is second in the order of precedence in the government.
By late night, 10.19 pm to be precise, Rajnath’s name was added to four more committees: parliamentary matters; political affairs; investment and growth; and employment and skill development. It created a better balance in the teams.
The only two committees in which his name does not figure are on the appointment, which has always had only the prime minister and the home minister as members, and on accommodation. The political affairs panel, as the name suggests, takes all important political decisions. Rajnath had headed the parliamentary affairs committee in Modi 1.0. The panel recommends dates for holding parliament sessions.
The newly-constituted committee on political affairs comprises, besides Rajnath, senior NDA members like Shah, Gadkari, Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsh Vardhan, Piyush Goyal, Pralhad Joshi and allies Ram Vilas Paswan, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Arvind Sawant.