NDA 3.0 under Modi watch shuns lateral entry

Council of Ministers of NDA govt

Image credit X @Rashtrapatibhavan

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Modi shows no love for lateral entry in NDA 3.0 govt

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, June 10: Former Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar betrayed signs of heartbreak on Sunday. He first sent out a message of quitting the public service. Shortly, he clarified his feelings.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took oath for the third occasion in a row yesterday in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He led a team of 30 Cabinet Ministers.

The oath ceremony drew on late in the evening to bring boredom to the audience. As many as 36 Ministers of State took oath of the offices. There were also five Ministers of State with independent charges.

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Chandrashekhar led a pack of the losers and winners of the Lok Sabha elections who watched the oath ceremony. Former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad found no place. Former Union Minister Anurag Thakur found in an unexplainable position, for the media had been toeing the line of the Modi government under his charge of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The BJP media unit head Anil Baluni also remained on the sidelines. In his place, Ajay Tamta was the sole MP from Uttarakhand to become a Minister of State. Tamta had once rebelled against the BJP.

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Unlike the second tenure of the NDA government at the Centre, Modi appears to have lost his penchant for lateral entry in the ministerial positions. Chandrashekhar was a high-profile lateral entry in the government.

Subhramanyam Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri had shined from the lateral entry pack in the council of ministers. Former ambassador in the US, Taranjeet Singh Sandhu, could not match the appeal of the fellow losing Lok Sabha candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu.

The grandson of former Punjab chief minister late Beant Singh became the Minister of State despite losing the Lok Sabha elections. Sandhu will now have to remain a humble BJP worker.

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George Kurien, the former vice-chairman of the National Minority Commission, along with the BJP’s Thrissur MP Suresh Gopi joined the Council of Ministers. Kurien may not be seen as a lateral entry, for he had been the BJP’s Christian face in Kerala.

Former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant was among the hopefuls for the lateral entry in the NDA government. Kant had been India’s G20 sherpa after demitting office in the NITI Aayog.

Modi had led an aggressive attack on the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) during the electioneering in Odisha. V K Pandian, an IAS turned politician, faced the fury of Modi and the BJP. The political observers are linking saffron fury against Pandian for Modi shunning the lateral entry in the council of ministers headed by him.

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