Modi’s Mega Cabinet: 71 Ministers Defy ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’

Top portfolios in the NDA 3.0 cabinet remain with BJP stalwarts, while NDA partners receive minor roles. Despite a record 71 ministers, major allies like JD(U) and TDP see limited influence, raising questions about Modi's 'Minimum Government, Maximum Governance' mantra

Delhi: The portfolio distribution among the National Democratic Alliance (NDA 3) ministers looks similar to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s second tenure, as all the top portfolios were retained by the party itself. Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, S Jaishankar, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Ashwini Vaishnaw were assigned the Defence, Home, Road & Transport, Finance, External Affairs, Commerce, Education, and Railways Ministries, respectively.

However, some important changes remain, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare being given to Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, previously held by Smriti Irani, allotted to Annapurna Devi, and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, earlier under Anurag Thakur, additionally given to Ashwini Vaishnaw.

BJP National President, JP Nadda has been given important portfolio of Health Ministry.

Jharkhand and Bengal have got two ministries each: one at the cabinet rank and another at the Ministry of State (MoS) rank. Other than Annapurna Devi, Sanjay Seth, who won for the second time from Ranchi, has been made MoS in Defense, while both Shantanu Thakur and Sukanta Majumdar (from Bengal) got MoS positions this time. In place of Arjun Munda, who could not return to the Lok Sabha, Jual Oram got Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Other than BJP, the main faces from NDA partners include Jitanram Manjhi (Micro and Small Enterprise), Lalan Singh (Panchayati Raj), and Chirag Paswan (Food Processing). No major ministries went to NDA partners, especially Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, who are the second and third largest partners in the government. It was reported in the last couple of days that at least the Home and Railways Ministries would be given to TDP and JD(U). Significantly, Janata Dal (Secular) got a better deal in comparison to the two leading partners.

Significantly, BJP’s old partner AJSU also did not get a berth in the Modi cabinet.

Whether the new Modi cabinet or the MoS appointments have satisfied its partners or not, time will tell, but with 71 ministers, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has the highest number of ministers, raising serious questions about PM Modi’s mantra—Minimum Government, Maximum Governance.

It will also be interesting to watch who will be made the Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha or which party will get it. There are also reports circulating that TDP has demanded the coveted post.

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