Voices Friday, June 06, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute| May 26, 2014| 4.35 pm IST The broad lines of the Narendra Modi government are now in the public domain. He brings some three dozen people to his cabinet which will be sworn in this afternoon. The key portfolios of External Affairs, Finance, Home and Defence have been the subject speculation. Sushma Swaraj heads the MEA, Arun Jaitley leads Finance and and Defence and Rajnath Singh takes charge of the Home Ministry. Sources tell The News Minute (TNM) Narendra Modi himself will set the rules and method of work for the MEA – his decision to invite the SAARC nations to his swearing-in-ceremony is an indication of that. His close monitoring of the Afghanistan situation is another. Swaraj is an orator and an alerted parliamentarian who has openly opposed Modi’s rise to power at every step of the process. In appointing her to be the country’s diplomatic face, Modi has spoken to one of the unwritten rules of leadership – keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Rajnath Singh takes charge as Home Minister at a time when security threats to India within the country are at a high. Over the past few months, Singh has positioned aggressively as the point person for an array of responsibilities within the party. Once viewed as a threat to Modi himself, sources say internal security could be brought under Modi’s direct surveillance. Sources tell TNM that the subtext of Arun Jaitley being appointed as Finance and Defence Minister is that Narendra Modi is coming in all guns blazing about dealing with a firm hand on corruption in the defence and financial sector. A lawyer by training with a robust understanding of arms lobbies and their influence in India, Jaitley is expected to keep a tight hand on these ministries. As the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley led several debates on the numerous corruption scandals that rocked UPA1 and UPA2. He is also well versed about wheels and spokes in the corporate world including the banking and financial sector and his legal-eagle eyes are key to the Finance Ministry when India’s fundamentals need more than serious re-building. One school of thought is that Jaitley will eventually hand over charge of one of the ministries to someone else. How things play out, time will tell, but Modi is expected to be a hands-on PM in so far as these three ministries are concerned. The message is clear - Modi means business. And it all starts tomorrow morning.
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