Modi 2.0 vs Modi 1.0: Odisha loses one cabinet berth

The top BJP leadership's message is crystal clear. In Odisha, the BJP's poster boys are Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi

Bhubaneswar: While the Modi 2.0 today makes its grand beginning with the big inductions of BJP President Amit Shah and former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar into the Modi Cabinet, for Odisha it heralds a loss of a Cabinet berth as former tribal minister Jual Oram has not been included in the Council of Ministers, despite winning big this time.

Though two Odias have made it into the Modi 2.0 Council of Ministers, in reality the State has seen only a single induction despite BJP winning eight seats. BJP’s  firebrand leader and MP from Balasore, Pratap Sarangi, has been made a Minister of State in the Modi’s new Council of Ministers. The inclusion of Dharmendra Pradhan as a cabinet minister couldn’t be taken as Odisha representative technically,  as he is a Rajya Sabha member from MP.

For Odisha, the Modi 2.0 has no big windfalls. Because, in 2014 when the saffron party had won a single seat, Jual Oram was sworn in as Cabinet Minister in Modi 1.0. And Dharmendra Pradhan was inducted as MoS(Independent). Cut to 2019, despite winning eight seats, Odisha got one MoS in Modi 2.0 plus one cabinet minister.

It also seems Odisha’s loss is Jharkhand’s gain as Arjun Munda, former Jharkhand CM who incidentally won by over 1,000 votes, is tipped to become the country’s next Tribal Affairs Minister.

The significant political message this new Council of Ministers drive home is top BJP leadership considers Dharmendra Pradhan its mascot in Odisha. And the induction of Pratap Sarangi, dubbed as Odisha’s Modi, the party wants to groom Sarangi. The top BJP leadership’s message is crystal clear. In Odisha, the BJP’s poster boys are  Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi.

In politics, body language sums up very well when the words failed to tell a candid tale. The enthusiastic encouragement by none other than the BJP President Amit Shah, when Pratap Sarangi was taking oath tells the big political tale in Odisha. Moreover, the ebullient welcome to Pratap Sarangi when he came to take oath on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan with chants of Jai Shriram hides more subtle political messages here.

Earlier, during the BJP National Executive meet in Odisha, PM Modi had effusively praised Sarangi as the one who dedicated his life for the party.

The other big political takeaway is like Odisha, West Bengal that gave 18 seats to BJP, has two MoS in its kitty. UP and Maharashtra bagged 7 ministerial berths each in Modi 2.0. The political import is when Maharashtra is going to elections later this year, UP has voted BJP overwhelmingly despite the Mahagatbandhan in the fray.  The team Modi has MoS V Muridharan from Kerala, who is a Rajya Sabha Member. BJP has not won any seat in Kerala in 2019 polls. This  reveals the party’s investment for the future dividend.