Modi Cabinet 2.0: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah held a seven hour long marathon meeting to brainstorm the names for council of ministers. There is intense speculation whether Amit Shah will be inducted into cabinet or not and what portfolio will be allocated to him. Prime Minister Modi will have to find replacement for Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
While Sushma Swaraj had already declined to contest the election, Arun Jaitley, the leader of Rajya Sabha has written a letter to Prime Minister Modi that his name should not be considered for a ministerial position. Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj both were grappling with health issues.
It’s anybody’s guess that who will be eventually accommodated in the new Modi cabinet, but southern states will also get fair representation as the party seeks to expand its base there.
According to the party sources, this time BJP’s young face Tejasvi Surya can be accommodated in the council of ministers as the party high command fielded him from prestigious Bangalore South Lok Sabha seat against Congress heavyweight BK Hari Prasad.
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According to the party sources, BJP will allot a fair share to southern states as it seeks to expand its base in the region. Though the party failed to form the government in Karnataka in assembly elections held last year, but it has a strong presence there. BJP won 25 of 28 Lok Sabha seats, one seat each was one by Congress, Janata Dal (Secular) and independent candidate.
BJP has several leaders in the Karnataka that are in the race for a ministerial position in Modi cabinet this time including sitting ministers like Sadanand Gowda and Anant Kumar Hegde but two other names are doing the round in the party circle.
Sitting Lok Sabha member PC Mohan, defeated Congress candidate Rizwan Arshad from Banglore Central seat by over 70,000 votes. PC Mohan has been winning from this seat since 2009 and has a strong support base among OBC voters in the state.
He also has parliamentary experience as he is a member in the Parliamentary Standing Committee of ministry of urban development.
According to party sources, 55 year old OBC leader is in the reckoning for a ministerial birth this time.
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Sitting union minister DV Sadanand Gowda defeated Congress candidate Krishna Byregowda from Banglore North Lok Sabha seat by over 1.47 lakh votes.
Sadanand Gowda held important portfolios in the first Modi government like ministry of railways when Prime Minister Modi came to power in May 2014. Later he was shifted to ministry of law and justice and eventually to ministry of statistics and programme implementation.
66 year old Sadanand Gowda was chief minister of Karnataka from August 2011 to July 2012 and the party high command brought him to national government to end factionalism in the state politics.
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Another hopeful from Karnataka is BJP’s firebrand Hindu leader Anant Kumar Hegde. Anant defeated JD(S) candidate Anand Asnotikar from Uttar Kanndad Lok Sabha seat by over 4.79 lakh votes.
Hegde had also won from this seat in 2014 Lok Sabha election but the margin of his victory was just over 1.4 lakh that he improved this time by over three times.
51 years old Hegde is union minister of skill development in the outgoing cabinet. According to the party sources, Hegde’s RSS background may help him as the party seeks to consolidate its Hindu support base.
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BJP’s young gun, 28 year old Tejasvi Surya defeated Congress general secretary BK Hariprasad from Bangalore South Lok Sabha seat by over 3.31 lakh votes. The seat was represented by former minister of parliamentary affairs Ananth Kumar who passed away last year after a prolonged illness.
It was reported that initially the party high command was in favor of fielding the Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, wife of late minister for parliamentary affairs, but Tejasvi Surya’s work in Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, BJP’s student wing helped him land the party ticket from the prestigious seat.
According to party sources, Tejasvi Surya can be inducted into the ministry of railway as a minister of state to groom him for bigger roles in future.
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