Narendra Modi will be sworn-in as the Prime Minister of India for the second term on May 30 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Ram Nath Kovind in the presence of leaders of BIMSTEC nations. Besides Modi, a host of NDA leaders will also be administered the oath of the office and secrecy by the President. With this, the process of forming a new Cabinet will begin which is set to witness a significant makeover.
Given the huge mandate Narendra Modi led alliance has received in the Lok Sabha elections, Modi faces a tough task to do the best to fulfill aspirations of people and also give equal representation to alliance leaders in the new Council of Ministers which will see many new faces. Amid all this, speculation is rife that senior BJP leader and outgoing Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may not be joining the new government due to continuous deterioration in his health. A report in news agency IANS said that in such a scenario, Modi may give the Finance portfolio to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who briefly served as Finance Minister last year in Jaitley’s absence.
Notably, Piyush Goyal, one of the best performing ministers in the previous Modi government, had presented the interim Budget during his term as Finance Minister. Also, the first major task before the new Finance Minister will be to present the full Budget by July.
Though other names are also doing the rounds, Goyal who is a chartered accountant and a former investment banker appears to be the favourite of Modi for the North Block office and could be the next full-time Finance Minister of the country. It also said that since the Budget is around the corner and reviving the country’s economy is the top priority of the government, Modi may not go for a new face and Goyal could be his choice for the role as he has already worked in the ministry.
The report also said that Jaitley who is keeping unwell for more than a year is likely to be made ‘Minister Without Portfolio’.
Also, there is also intense speculation that BJP president Amit Shah might be given a heavyweight Ministry. Shah was not included in the first term of the Modi government and restricted him to the organisation. Smriti Irani, who held Textiles portfolio till now, is expected to get back the HRD Ministry, the IANS report said. Irani has emerged as a giant killer by defeating Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his family bastion of Amethi by a margin of 55,000 votes.
Nitin Gadkari, who was Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, may also get a bigger portfolio. Ram Madhav, BJP’s general secretary (organisation), may also be made a Minister and given an important portfolio with Cabinet rank. Former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and former Madhya Pradesh CM are also likely to be inducted in the ministry with a Cabinet berth. Besides, there may also been new representatives from the NDA allies, like the Shiv Sena and JD(U).
Also, the IANS report said that NITI Aayog too may have a new vice chairman with Nandan Nilekeni replacing Rajiv Kumar.