Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Commentary: Making sense of the Cabinet Expansion at the Centre

The biggest news of the day and the week in India is the cabinet reshuffle and expansion by the PM Narendra Modi. But to go beyond saying this is to enter the area of disagreement and debate as very likely a number of commentators may claim that the sense of great significance attached to the event has little basis. In the coming days there will be a number of readings of the event and the educated follower of news will get a chance to make up her own mind about it. How do you make up your mind however transitorily on an issue like this? You perhaps look more closely at why the PM felt a need for the change at precisely this moment, namely try to catch a glimpse of the PM’s own likely reading of his political and administrative predicament. All this becomes relevant in the context of the forthcoming assembly elections that are central to the strategies of all the political parties involved including the BJP, not to mention the elections at the centre in 2019. Second, you look at the profiles of characters and names you may not have heard of despite being a journalist. BJP is indeed struggling hard to give its anonymous faces a name and a reputation, hoping they will build up a decent track record in the coming days. On the basis of all this you try and determine for yourself the central message emanating from the change of tack at the centre. 

While this news report may not provide you with a sharp analysis of the event, it does place in front of you the basic facts, most importantly the brief bios of all those who have joined the cabinet at the centre. This is important as several knee jerk reports today carry hastily derived conclusions and readings. It is in brief a useful piece to read as you launch your deeper investigations into the new developments in Delhi and the stirrings within the NDA as well as the BJP-RSS family.

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