Within 24 hours of its decision not to include Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in most of the Cabinet committees, the Modi government on Thursday night amended its order to include his name in the parliamentary panels. In a revised order which was issued on late on Thursday, the government included Rajnath’s name in six of the eight Cabinet committees after initially keeping him out of all but two.
The official statement by the government in the morning said that Singh has been appointed as a member in only two Cabinet committees — Security and Economic Affairs. His name was not included in the list of members for Parliamentary Affairs, Political Affairs, Investment and Growth, and Employment & Skill Development. The new Home Minister in the Modi government, Amit Shah, was a member of all these committees. This prompted talks that Shah was now the de facto No. 2 in the government despite Rajnath Singh being at the second place in the hierarchy after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The first order which omitted Singh’s name from six committees was issued at 5:57 am on Thursday. The order was revised at 10:19 pm on the same day with reconstitution. The new order included Singh’s name in all the six committees and was placed above Shah in all the four committees — Parliamentary Affairs, Political Affairs, Investment and Growth, and Employment & Skill Development.
Singh who is one of the senior most ministers in the Modi government had handled the Home portfolio in the previous Modi government. However, he was given the Defence portfolio by Narendra Modi in the new government and Amit Shah became his successor. In the first order, Shah held the charge in all eight committees, highlighting his position as the second most powerful man in the government after PM Modi.
A PTI report said that Rajnath Singh will now head the Cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs. PM Narendra Modi is not a member of this committee while Amit Shah is. The two committees in which Singh’s name does not figure are on appointment and accommodation. While the Cabinet committee on appointment traditionally had only PM and Home Minister as members, the second one is relatively a low-profile panel.