PM Modi signals continuity in portfolio allocation, reposes trust in old team as many of them retain departments

The four big Ministries that are part of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) saw the return of all the Ministers with Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and S. Jaishankar retaining the portfolios of Home, Defence, Finance, and External Affairs respectively

Updated - June 11, 2024 11:21 am IST

Published - June 10, 2024 10:01 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the first meeting of his new Cabinet, attended by the newly-inducted Ministers, in New Delhi on June 10, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the first meeting of his new Cabinet, attended by the newly-inducted Ministers, in New Delhi on June 10, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent out a message of continuity by retaining his top lieutenants in key Ministries while allocating portfolios to his Council of Ministers on June 10.

The four big Ministries that are part of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) — a key body within the Union Cabinet — saw the return of all the Ministers with Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and S. Jaishankar retaining the portfolios of Home, Defence, Finance, and External Affairs respectively.

Mr. Modi, who now needs the support of allies to lead the latest National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, also left key infrastructure Ministries largely unchanged. Nitin Gadkari retained Road Transport and Highways, Sarbananda Sonowal retaining Shipping and Ports, and Ashwini Vaishnaw keeping Railways, along with Information Technology and Information and Broadcasting. Jyotiraditya Scindia seems to have received a leg-up by securing the Telecom Ministry, another key infrastructure portfolio. Only Aviation saw a change, and was handed to Ram Mohan Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), a portfolio that had been with his party in the first Modi government, when Ashok Gajapati Raju had held the Ministry.

Also read | Narendra Modi 3.0: Portfolio of Union Council of Ministers

Former Chief Ministers who were newly sworn in as Ministers were also given key Ministries. Former Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar got the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry on a day when Mr. Modi’s first Cabinet meeting with his new team cleared a proposal for building three crore houses in urban and rural areas under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY). Former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan received charge of the crucial Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, a reflection of the fact that under his tenure as CM, wheat production, especially that of the famous Sharbati wheat, had broken all records.

At a time when calls for a caste census are being raised both from outside and within the NDA government, Virender Kumar has been retained with the Social Justice portfolio.

Interestingly, with the Lok Sabha seeing a far bigger contingent of Opposition MPs, Arunachal Pradesh MP Kiren Rijiju has been made Minister for Parliamentary Affairs as he is seen to be affable and shares a good rapport across the political spectrum. Mr. Rijiju being a Buddhist has been given charge of the Minority Affairs Ministry.

Even with allies, allocations have followed a pattern of continuity, with Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’ holding the portfolio of Panchayati Raj, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, earlier held by Giriraj Singh, who is a BJP MP from the same State of Bihar. H.D. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (S) got the portfolio of Heavy Industries and Steel, which was held by the Shiv Sena before they parted ways with the BJP. Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi is Cabinet Minister for Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs). Chirag Paswan holds the Food Processing Ministry which was earlier held by his father, the late Ram Vilas Paswan.

Watch | Modi 3.0 Cabinet: Complete list of ministers’ portfolio

Among Ministers from the BJP’s stable, C.R. Paatil got the crucial Ministry of Jal Shakti, a flagship post where close rapport with Mr. Modi is a key factor. Dharmendra Pradhan retained Education, Arjun Ram Meghwal retained Law while Pralhad Joshi moved to Food, Civil Supplies and Renewable Energy.

In all, the overarching message from the portfolio allocation effected by Mr. Modi seems to be that while his party’s numbers had reduced, he does not hold it against his ministerial colleagues, putting out a business-as-usual vibe as he embarks on his third-successive term.

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