Vajpayee-era footprint shrinks in Modi 2.0
New Delhi: Among the 24 Cabinet ministers who were sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind, only four were part of NDA-I, signalling further shrinking of the Atal-Advani impression on the Modi government.
Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Prahlad Patel, who are part of Modi 2.0, are the last remnants of the Vajpayee era. Arun Jaitley opted out of the Cabinet on health grounds and Sushma Swaraj was dropped as external affairs minister. The two were key persons of Modi 1.0 which had overlooked many NDA-I ministers, including Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Murli Manohar Joshi and Shatrughan Sinha among others.
Many of the NDA-1 ministers who made it into Team Modi in 2014 — Uma Bharti, Maneka Gandhi, Jual Oram and Vijay Goel — are missing from the council of ministers signalling a generational shift.
Rajnath Singh, who has been shifted from home ministry to defence, had served as surface transport minister in 1999 under Vajpayee and later became the agriculture and food processing minister. During this period he initiated the NHDP (National Highway Development Programme), a dream project of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the lone Muslim face in the current Modi government, was the Minister of Information and Broadcasting under Vajpayee.
Naqvi was made Minister of State for Minority and Parliamentary Affairs in the first Modi government. In 2014, he again made it to the Modi Cabinet and retained the Minority Affairs portfolio.
Prasad, who defeated Shatrughan Sinha in Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency, not only retained key portfolios of Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology portfolios but was given charge of Communications ministry as well.
Under Vajpayee government also, he held law and justice apart from information and broadcasting.
Singh, Prasad and Naqvi are the only leaders who got the chance to work in both the stints of Modi as Prime Minister and also under Vajpayee.
Another minister in the Modi government, who also worked during Atal-Advani era in government, is Prahlad Singh Patel. After a gap of 15 years, he was inducted into the Modi government on Thursday as Minister of State (Independent Charge). He is the new Culture and Tourism Minister.