Prime Minister Narendra Modi is looking to firm up delivery on the governance front and is said to be searching for new faces for his cabinet reshuffle. Like this, there are several big decisions in the government and the party seem to be waiting because of the re-election of Amit Shah as the BJP president.
In the present cabinet, Piyush Goyal as a Power Minister, Nitin Gadkari as a Highways and Sushma Swaraj as an External Affairs and somewhat Suresh Prabhu as a Railway Minister have outstanding performance. However, if we look at the larger picture of the government then somewhere BJP has left the voters stumped. A cabinet reshuffle, therefore, is urgently needed and fresh talent, if necessary from the displacement, from academia, or the private sector, needs to be instated. Though, the top four portfolios – home, finance, defence and foreign ministry — are unlikely to see a change. There are other ministers who have been identified as underperformance, might get the axe or be transferred to another ministry. Some ministries may also be reorganised for better governance and some of the better performers may get additional charge of related ministries. PM Modi could cut down the number of ministers from Bihar following the party’s humiliating defeat in the last assembly election in November.
Amit Shah’s election is expected to be by consensus, as everyone wants him to become party president again and they all believe that the BJP has become the world’s largest party under his leadership. With his election to the three-year term, Shah is also expected to lead Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Immediately, he has to organise the party for the crucial elections in states like West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam, where the party has traditionally had little presence and is hoping to gain the ground. There is also Punjab, where it has been in government for 10 years as the junior partner of the Akali Dal and has to counter anti-incumbency sentiments. In 2017, there is a mega battle in Uttar Pradesh. In the 2014 general elections, the BJP had won 72 of the state’s 80 parliamentary seats, but has lost ground ever since in local body elections and by-polls.
This winter session of Parliament began loftily enough with an all-party discussion on the Constitution and Dr. BR Ambedkar, but ended with next to nothing accomplished. In between, there was a shameful and unmitigated chaos. However, this is not the case for the first time, even during the UPA’s regime when BJP was in opposition its members also wasted taxpayer’s money and time in a similar manner. Keeping politics apart, in terms of governance also, a mid-term course correction is mandatory for BJP if they want a chance to win in 2019. Its disappointing version of “Congress plus cow” rule, as the spurned Arun Shourie dubbed it, has been most underwhelming.
After Delhi-Bihar’s miserable defeat and corporation and Panchayat level elections one can say that the ‘Modi Magic’ is fading. It’s high time, the government is now expected to deliver, and the cabinet reshuffle is must. There has been little, even by way of administrative reform. Moreover, Modi Sarkar took lots of U turns so far; they failed to fulfil the promises made by them at the time of elections. BJP has made volte face on a range of issues – black money, Direct Benefit Transfer, Insurance Bill, Henderson Brooks report, the CAG’s mandate, rail fare hike, diesel deregulation, Chinese incursions and relations with Pakistan.
There are many things which went against the saffron party. One of such thing is price rise especially in food products which proved to be a major discomfort for Modi government. They pledged to bring “Achche din” for the aam aadmi, but yet are struggling.
Rainfall has been lowest in 5 years which has further worsened the problem. Namami Ganga project has flopped and crores of money gone in river and drained. Core sector growth has also slowed down considerably. After witnessing a growth of 4.2 per cent in April, it is down to dismal 2.3 per cent in May last year. Crude oil, natural gas, refinery and steel – all these sectors witnessed contraction in the month of May.
Loudmouth BJP ministers and abusive Social Media supporters, Modi’s visit to Pakistan and followed by Pathankot attack has stigmatised his image. Right now, Modi Sarkar need a face lift and some concrete ways to gain public faith, else they will lose public confidence forever. Since independence, BJP comes to power for limited period and then shrinks to all-time lows. I hope history won’t repeat for them in 2019.