Cabinet Expansion 2021: While the new cabinet has 36 new ministers, it also includes 16 first-time MPs.
Cabinet Reshuffle 2021: With 78 ministers, this is the largest-ever council of ministers headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the new cabinet has 36 new ministers, it also includes 16 first-time MPs. Two ministers – Sarbananda Sonowal who is an MLA and L Murugan who is neither an MP nor an MLA, will be required to get elected either to Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha within six months. Some ministers including Hardeep Singh Puri, Kiren Rijiju and Anurag Thakur have been promoted while the inclusion of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Bhupendra Yadav can be termed as a reward as they helped the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, respectively. While the PM did not hesitate in inducting 16 first-time MPs, several leaders have been left sulking as they were not included in the cabinet despite their names doing rounds on multiple occasions. Here are five of the MPs who were hopeful of a cabinet berth but did not get one:
Sushil Modi: Former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and senior BJP leader from the state, Modi had served as deputy CM for around 11 years. When the NDA managed to hobble over the line in the Bihar assembly polls last year, the party high-command asked Sushil Modi to relinquish the long-held post and made two Deputy CMs from its quota. Modi was nominated to Rajya Sabha from the state and it was expected that he may be given a cabinet berth given his experience. But, like many others, he will have to wait until the next orders.
Varun Gandhi: Ferocious speaker and BJP MP from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, Varun Gandhi was among the strongest contenders for a cabinet post. A three-time MP from UP, Varun was expected to be included in the cabinet, especially since his mother Maneka Gandhi was not included in the NDA 2.0 cabinet. Reports claimed that Gandhi had even reached Delhi ahead of the cabinet expansion. Given the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections next year, Varun Gandhi’s inclusion was strongly predicted but it appears that the Lok Sabha MP still needs to prove his mettle at the organisational level.
Brijendra Singh: Son of former union minister Birender Singh, a first-time MP from Hisar, Brijendra Singh was expected a call from Delhi. Birender Singh who held different portfolios in the Modi government including Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Minister of Rural Development, Minister of Panchayati Raj and Minister of Steel had been lobbying for his son. He even reportedly hosted CM Manohar Lal Khattar on dinner in the process but could not succeed.
Chirag Paswan: LJP leader and Bihar MP Chirag Paswan, who had been waiting for a call from top BJP leadership since the Bihar elections and was recently betrayed by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, was apparently shown the door by the Modi government. While his uncle who claims support of four rebel LJP MPs was included as a minister in the Modi cabinet, Paswan failed to replicate the magic and charm of his late father Ram Vilas Paswan. Chirag had contested the Bihar polls alone against CM Nitish Kumar and had successfully managed to drag the JD(U) down to the third position, but could not save his party’s lone seat in the Bihar assembly. He was expecting his return in the NDA fold but his uncle Paras outplayed him.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi: Former Congress leader and BJP MP from Prayagraj, Rita Bahuguna Joshi was among the top contenders from Uttar Pradesh. As a strong woman Brahmin leader, Joshi was said to be among the frontrunners. With BJP accepting Jitin Prasada keeping in mind the Brahaman votes, Joshi was also expected to get a cabinet berth to set the cast-equation right in the electorally crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. While the new Modi cabinet now has 7 ministers from Uttar Pradesh, Joshi could not make it to the list.