Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

Why J. P. Nadda was appointed BJP working president?

akb18 The BJP Central Parliamentary Board on Monday decided to appoint former Union Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda as the party working president. Praising Nadda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as “a diigent party karyakarta, who has risen through the ranks due to his hard work and organisational skills”.

Elevation of Nadda as the party working president was almost a foregone conclusion, when he was kept out of the Union Cabinet. There is no doubt that Amit Shah has been the most successful president in the party’s history. It was under Shah’s leadership that the BJP formed governments in states which it never dreamed of. Normally, when a government is formed at the Centre, the entire focus shifts from the party to matters of governance.

Amit Shah played a pro-active role, and he strengthened the party machinery right up to the booth level. The party achieved a record number of membership, and during the recent Lok Sabha elections, it was the party machinery which worked overtime in communicating the achievements of Modi’s government to the electorate.

After taking over as Union Home Minister, Amit Shah may not be able to devote much time to the party. The BJP leadership has, therefore, decided to entrust the responsibility of party to its new working president, J. P. Nadda.

Nadda will be made party president after the organisational elections are held later this year. Five years ago, when Amit Shah became party president, Nadda’s name had figured. When Modi was party in-charge of Himachal Pradesh, he knew Nadda and his style of working and a personal rapport had developed between the two.

Any new party president of the BJP will have a big target to achieve. The target will be to scale the big heights achieved by Amit Shah in his role as party president. And this is certainly a tall order.

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Proud moment as IAF Garud commandos perform brother’s duties for martyr’s sister at her wedding

akb1It is with a sense of pride that we in India TV telecasted on Friday night in ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ the story of a team of IAF Garud Commandos attending the wedding of a martyred Corporal’s sister in Badladih village, Rohtas district, Bihar.

Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala was martyred in an encounter with terrorists in Kashmir way back in 2017. He was posthumously awarded the highest honour ever given to an IAF jawan, Ashok Chakra, by the President at the Republic Day parade last year. Recently, the martyr’s friends and fellow jawans decided to lend a hand to his sister’s wedding in Bihar.

Nirala’s family is poor, and the jawans of IAF pitched in with whatever donations they could collect. They attended the wedding and performed the martyred brother’s duties, by putting their palms on the floor, for the bride to walk over. This scene brought tears to the eyes of those present at the wedding.

On the day of wedding, Nirala’s sister Shashikala had nearly 100 brothers as a team of Indian Air Force Garuda commandos visited the village. Each commando contributed Rs 500 each and nearly Rs 5 lakhs was collected for the wedding. Jyoti Prakash’s father Tej Narayan Singh expressed his gratitude to our vailant IAF commandos.

On 18th November, 2017, Jyoti Prakash along with Garud commandos was involved in a fierce encounter with terrorists in Bandipora. He gunned down two terrorists, and in return, he received a hail of fire from terrorists. He gave the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation.

IAF commandos offering their palms on the ground for a martyr’s sister to walk on at her wedding is surely a big tribute to the memory of a slain Corporal. All of us should be proud of our valiant jawans for this emotional show of solidarity.

On our part, we as patriotic Indians, should always be ready to offer respect in public to all our jawans, who are working day and night in the service of our nation. Jai Hind!

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Modi and Imran Khan: a study in contrast

AKA_frame_78385When Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, the two world leaders spoke to our PM with deference and respect.

Modi had told me in an interview during Lok Sabha polls last month that when the people of a country elect a leader with resounding majority, the world eyes the leader with a feeling of admiration and respect. The world always respects leaders of strong governments. This was clearly evident in Bishkek on Thursday.

Prime Minister Modi has opened his new innings by stressing on personal relationships with world leaders. He always comes up with new and out-of-the-box ideas. He invents slogans and cares for personal relationships. So much so, that world leaders have often copied his slogans.

In 2014, the slogan was ‘Ab Ki Baar, Modi Sarkar’. When Donald Trump ran for the office of President, the slogan ‘Ab Ki Baar, Trump Sarkar’ was used. The then British PM David Cameron too tweaked this slogan for himself during the parliamentary elections to garner votes from people of Indian origin in the UK.

In the recent LS elections, the slogan was ‘Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai’. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned this slogan while addressing an India Ideas Summit of the US-India Business Council on Wednesday.

And now, the paradox. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tries to copy Modi’s ideas and schemes for his country, but while implementing, he has become the butt of jokes on TV channels. The situation has come to a point where the government in Pakistan has asked news channels not to crack jokes about their prime minister.

I have been noticing that since the time Imran Khan became PM, he has been trying to copy ideas and schemes from Modi. Because of this, he is often compared with Modi on Pakistani TV channels. Imran Khan stands nowhere in comparison with Modi as far as administrative experience and political acumen are concerned.

Modi cut government expenditure and banned red and blue beacons for ministers and politicians, and Imran Khan followed suit. Soon after taking over as PM, Imran Khan publicly auctioned the fleet of expensive cars used by former PM Nawaz Sharif. He even auctioned a number of buffaloes kept at the PM’s residence.

Walking in the footsteps of Modi’s Swachhata movement, Imran Khan took out a broom to keep the streets clean. Modi appealed to Indians to forego LPG subsidy and use less fuel. Imran Khan had a novel idea. He asked people to use donkeys for transport in order to save fuel.

After citing these examples, I need not elaborate why the Pakistani media is having a field day cracking jokes about their Prime Minister, and the government had to crack the whip.

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Why PM Modi is serious about passage of Triple Talaq Bill in Parliament?

akb12The Union Cabinet, in its first meeting after the formation of Narendra Modi 2.0 government, on Wednesday decided to bring the Triple Talaq Bill in order to replace the ordinance that is in force. This bill will replace Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance and if passed by both Houses, will pave the way to place curbs on the practice of talaq-e-biddat, or instant triple talaq.

The bill was passed by Lok Sabha last year, but it could not be passed in Rajya Sabha because of opposition from Congress and other parties. The bill lapsed with the dissolution of 16th Lok Sabha. The new bill will be introduced again in the forthcoming session of Parliament.

“Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” has been the pivot of the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre said in a statement. This is part of the massive outreach towards Muslim community initiated by the Prime Minister, through upgradation of madrasas, scholarships for Muslim students and implementation of welfare schemes among the Muslims.

The Triple Talaq Bill will ensure gender equality and gender justice to Muslim women and will also help in protecting the rights of married Muslim women. The bill declares the practice of talaq-e-biddat as void and illegal. It provides for three years imprisonment and fine. It also provides for payment of subsistence allowance to married Muslim women and dependent children.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has earned the respect of millions of Muslim women by taking the initiative in putting curbs on triple talaq, which was literally a sword hanging over their heads. The Supreme Court had struck down the instant triple talaq practice as unconstitutional.

Modi has now started taking serious steps for his outreach among the Muslims, and it is in tune with this aim that the Triple Talaq Bill will be introduced again in the 17th Lok Sabha.

The outreach among Muslims is politically meant to break the age-old stranglehold of self-appointed political leaders claiming to espouse the cause of Muslims by creating loyal vote banks. This perception has been debunked in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, in which Muslims voters, too, voted for the BJP in large numbers, because they have benefited from social welfare scheme like Ujjwala, Ujala, Mudra and Swachh Bharat.

Let politicians refrain from making snide remarks about armed forces

akb12After a search operation in inclement weather for eight days, an IAF helicopter spotted part of the wreckage of the missing AN-32 transport plane carrying 13 air force personnel, including six officers, in a dense hilly forest at a height of 12,000 feet in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

The transport plane had taken off from Jorhat on June 3 and then went missing on the radar. Scores of aircraft were involved in the search operations, and the IAF chief Air Chief Marshal B. S. Dhanoa himself went to Jorhat to coordinate the operations.

Mountaineering teams of IAF, army and civilians have been formed and they will be airdropped, if required, in search of survivors. The nearest ground search team will take at least three days to reach the site of crash. The place is 16 km north of Lipo, a small village with nearly 120 inhabitants.

Searching the 24-metre long AN-32 aircraft with a wing span of 29 metres in a densely forested area of 1,000 sq km was like hunting for a needle inside a haystack. Because of low clouds and rains, IAF teams had a tough time in carrying out the search.

I will now turn to some nasty remarks made by trolls and others in the social media during the search operation. Congress and some other opposition leaders too joined the fray and questioned the government’s ability.

On Tuesday, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel said, if the number of those killed in IAF Balakot air strike could be revealed, then why did the government fail to locate the missing plane. He also raised questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking about armed forces and patriotism during the recently concluded elections. Has nationalism evaporated with elections, the chief minister asked.

The opposition has the right to question the Prime Minister, but it must not raise questions about the capability of our armed forces that includes the army, air force and the navy. Politicians and trolls must stay away from making loose comments about our armed forces, particularly when an air mishap has taken place. We should not demoralize our forces.

Think about the effect such remarks in social media may have made on the minds of the grieving families of IAF personnel, waiting every minute for news about their near and dear ones. Think about the effect such remarks may have caused in the minds of our valiant IAF men toiling hard to locate their missing brethren. At least, on issues like mishaps, we should have some amount of sensitivity.

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President’s Rule in West Bengal is not the solution

akbViolent clashes between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters have been taking place in West Bengal with frightening regularity both during and after the Lok Sabha elections. After the killing of three BJP and one TMC supporters in a bloody clash in Basirhat, there have been more such clashes in other districts. Last night in Mathabhanga, Coochbehar, motorbikes of BJP supporters were set on fire after a local TMC leader was attacked.

West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi met Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Monday to apprise him about the current situation. There have been demands from BJP circles to impose Central rule in the state, but the Centre is unwilling to allow Mamata Banerjee to gain any political advantage.

In Aaj Ki Baat show on Monday night, we telecasted detailed stories of how villages and localities, where voters gave their votes to Modi, are being targeted by TMC activists. The ruling party in the state is out to teach a lesson and strike terror in the minds of those voters who have leanings towards the BJP. This is being done in view of the assembly elections that will take place in 2022.

Clearly, Mamata Banerjee has learnt this political style from the Left Front, whose supporters used to target TMC activists during the Left rule. Mamata Banerjee had then demanded Central rule, but when the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee refused to oblige, she resigned from the NDA government. Five years later, the people of Bengal themselves voted the Left out of power and handed over the baton to Mamata’s party.

In a cruel irony of fate, the same Mamata Banerjee is now using the violent methods against the BJP, after the latter won 18 Lok Sabha seats last month. Naturally, the TMC supremo is fearing the same fate that had befallen the Left Front. Mamata and her party men may try their utmost to muzzle the voice of the people, but it is the people who are the ultimate arbiters.

Mamata Banerjee should know that silence of the majority does not mean weakness. It will be a terrible political blunder. As far as imposing President’s Rule is concerned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is never going to do this. Modi is an astute politician and he will never give Mamata a handle to beat the Centre with.

Moreover, the opposition parties in India, who have been badly defeated at the hustings, will get a fresh breath if President’s Rule is imposed in Bengal. This can provide an opportunity to the opposition parties to unite. Modi is not going to oblige by giving any such chance either to Mamata or to the opposition parties.

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Punish the perpetrators of toddler’s murder in Aligarh at the earliest

AKB_frame_73989The brutal and inhuman murder of a two and a half year old girl in Aligarh, UP, has caused tremendous outrage across India. Top politicians and Bollywood celebrities have also condemned this ghastly killing and have demanded deterrent punishment for the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

The girl went missing from Tappal near Aligarh on May 31 and two days later, her mutilated body was found in a garbage dump in Aligarh. Two persons, Zahid and Aslam, have been arrested, and after there was widespread outrage on social media, five policemen have been suspended and a Special Investigation Team has been formed to probe the murder. Till now, the post mortem report has not indicated any sign of sexual assault, but the horrendous manner in which this act was perpetrated is highly deplorable.

I do not have words to express my feeling over this cruel murder. How could the accused murder and mutilate the body of a toddler in this manner? They do not deserve to be called human beings, and they must have no right to live in society. The case must be taken up by a fast track court and they should be convicted and given the death sentence at the earliest.

In 2012, there was nationwide outrage over the manner in which a young woman (Nirbhaya) was sexually assaulted inside a bus, her private parts were mutilated and she was thrown out on the road. She battled for life and ultimately died.

Thousands of people came out on the roads of Delhi to express their anger. Law on sexual assault was completely changed and deterrent punishment was prescribed, but it is sad to note that the convicts in Nirbhaya case are still alive in Delhi’s Tihar Jail and they have not been executed.

This week, Nirbhaya’s parents pleaded before the Delhi High Court that the the process of executing the death sentence be speeded up, because the convicts have been trying to gain time through mercy petitions to avoid the gallows. This must not happen in the case of the toddler’s murder in Aligarh.

I want to raise one more issue. On social media, several individuals have circulated inflammatory messages comparing the Aligarh murder with the heinous rape and murder of a girl in Kathua near Jammu. Attempts have been made to give a communal angle to this incident.

Rape and murder are acts that are perpetrated by criminals, who have nothing to do with religion. The murderers and rapists must get exemplary punishment, but those who are circulating messages on social media by using the victim’s picture and naming the perpetrators are equally guilty of inciting people and causing social disharmony.

The government must identify such people and action must be taken against them. Inciting people in the name of religion and injecting communal poison in a civil society is a crime.

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Sidhu should be grateful to Capt Amarinder Singh for not being sacked

akbIn fast-paced developments in Punjab, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday stripped Navjot Singh Sidhu of Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs portfolios and assigned him Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources portfolio. Earlier in the day, Sidhu did not attend the cabinet meeting presided over by the CM, and instead went live on social media airing his grievances.

The Chief Minister had earlier alleged that Sidhu’s ‘inept handling’ of the crucial Local Government department resulted in poor Lok Sabha election results for the Congress from urban areas of Punjab.

Countering this, Sidhu replied that he was “being singled out publicly” by the CM. Sidhu claimed that his party fared better in two LS seats that he was entrusted with. Sidhu said, “I always regard him (Capt Amarinder) as my elder. I always listen to him, but it hurts. Where is the collective responsibility? He could have called me and said anything he would have wanted to say. But I was singled out in spite of collective responsibility.”

“I cannot be taken for granted. I have been a performer throughout during 40 years of my life, be it international cricket, or world class commentary with Geoffrey Boycott, TV shows or 1,300 motivational talks,” Sidhu said, adding that he would defend his name, credibility and performance “fiercely”.

I am mentioning all these in detail because I want to say that Sidhu has never been loyal to any body. He has this habit of ditching those who helped him in life. The BJP gave him the utmost respect, and yet he ditched the party. Sidhu is now doing the same to the Congress leadership in Punjab.

It was the BJP which made Sidhu a ‘neta’ (political leader) and he became Lok Sabha member thrice. He was later made member of Rajya Sabha and his wife was made a minister in Punjab. But SIdhu was not content with this. He left the BJP for greener pastures and joined the Congress.

Capt Amarinder Singh was large hearted in accomodating him as a minister in his cabinet and Sidhu was given portfolios of his choice. But Sidhu had his eyes on the Chief Minister’s chair. He was being given prominence in the party by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. With the party high command behind him, Sidhu publicly made remarks against Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Chief Minister complained to Rahul Gandhi several times, but each time it was Rahul who shielded Sidhu. The latter campaigned for his party president in Amethi, and yet Rahul lost the election. On the other hand, Punjab was the only north Indian state, where the Congress managed to save its seats, and credit for this goes to Capt. Amarinder Singh.

The situation was ripe for the Captain to sack Sidhu, but he was large hearted enough not to sack him, and instead changed his portfolio. Sidhu should be thankful to the Captain for this, but it is not in his nature to thank those who helped him in life.
Sidhu has never listened to his Captain, whether in cricket or in politics. He has always played his own game, and he never cared for the team.

 

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Mamata is neither worried about Muslims, nor Hindus, she’s worried about her chair

AK__B (007)On Eid ul-Fitr day, addressing a congregation of devout Muslims who had performed namaaz on Red Road in Kolkata, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee made a high-decibel political speech. In a thinly veiled warning for BJP, Mamata Banerjee said, “Jo humse takrayega, choor choor ho jayega”.

The Trinamool Congress chief told Muslims to stay united “so that we can fight for you”. She told West Bengal Muslims: “There is nothing to be scared of. …Don’t be scared, the faster they captured EVMs, the sooner they will go away”.

In her typical style, Banerjee said: “Tyaag ka naam hai Hindu, Imaan ka naam hai Musalman, Pyar ka naam hai Isai, Sikh ka naam hai balidaan. Ye hai hamara pyaara Hindustan. Jo humse takrayega choor choor ho jayega. Ye hamara slogan hai.”

I am surprised over Mamata Banerjee’s reactions since the time Lok Sabha election results have come. She seems to be unable to digest BJP hiking up its tally from two to 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in her state.

Mamata Banerjee is an experienced politician and she knows West Bengal politics like the back of her hand. She correctly understands the pulse of the Bengali bhadralok. Yet, at a religious festival like Eid, she pours out her hate for her political rivals. She tries to strike fear in the mind of Bengali Muslims in the name of BJP, and openly speaks out about fighting for Muslims.

This is symptomatic of the depression that Mamata might have been facing since the LS results came out. She is running the government in West Bengal and has concentrated all the power in her hands. How can it be that others can come and threaten Muslims in Bengal?

I agree with Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, when he said that “Mamata is neither worried about Muslims, nor Hindus, the only thing she worries about is her chair.” This, in a sentence, sums up the situation in which Mamata Banerjee finds herself at this moment.

 

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Why Centre wants to carry out delimitation work in J&K ?

AKB 2On Tuesday, the new Home Minister Amit Shah was given a detailed presentation on Jammu and Kashmir by the Home Ministry officials. Among the many plans of BJP for J&K is the move to set up a Delimitation Commission to determine the number of assembly seats for all the three divisions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

The BJP had promised in its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto that it would work for abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution that gives special powers to J&K, and annulling Article 35A that gives special rights to the people of Kashmir valley. The BJP wants more seats for the Jammu region through the delimitation process. It wants to “correct disparities” with Jammu region and provide representation to all reserved categories.

The Farooq Abdullah government had amended the state consitution in 2002 freezing delimitation of seats till the first census after 2026. Legal experts say that the J&K Governor has powers to strike down the amendment, provided it is ratified by Parliament within six months .

Out of the 87 assembly seats in J&K, seven are reserved for schedule castes, all in Jammu valley, as there are no persons belonging to SC in the Kashmir valley. These reserved seats have not been rotated since 1996. In the state assembly, Kashmir valley dominates with 46 seats, Jammu region with 37 and Ladakh has four assembly seats.

The move for delimitation has drawn strong reactions, as expected, from political leaders in the Kashmir valley. JKPDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah have opposed the move to remove the freeze on delimitation.

Those criticizing the move should note that the delimitation work cannot be done within two months. On Tuesday, the Election Commission of India indicated that it would decide on dates of state assembly elections after the Amarnath Yatra is over in August. If assembly polls are held in October, delimitation work cannot be completed by that time.

The delimitation process involves preparation of a report, setting up of a commission, submission of report by that commission, and then Parliament will have to approve that report. Following this, the Governor will have to annul the amendment made by Farooq Abdullah government putting a freeze on delimitation till 2026. All these will take time.

Naturally, the assembly elections later this year in J&K will be conducted within the current framework. The Centre will, of course, try to speed up the delimitation work, but it would be politically incorrect to level the charge that a move is afoot to install a Hindu chief minister in J&K. Political leaders should avoid making loose remarks on such critical issues.

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Both Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav failed to gauge the mood of voters in UP

akbOn Monday, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati hinted at a review meeting with party functionaries that her alliance (Mahagathbandhan) with Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal was almost over, though she did not say this in so many words. According to leaders present at the meeting, Mayawati asked her party leaders to prepare to fight byelections for 11 assembly seats on their own.

The BSP supremo, according to sources, said at the meeting that Akhilesh Yadav could not even win his family seats, and his wife and cousins lost the elections. She reportedly said, the SP failed to transfer Yadav votes to her party candidates, while Ajit Singh failed to transfer Jat community votes to her party. Mayawati reportedly said at the meeting that though she would not be announcing the end of Mahagathbandhan now, yet the party should prepare to fight the 11 assembly byelections on its own.

Mayawati may be right when she says that she finds no point in continuing with the alliance. In politics, a party gains clout only at the expense of the other. Her party had drawn a blank in 2014 LS elections, while this time it has won 10 LS seats. So, it would be incorrect on her part to say that the BSP did not benefit from the alliance. She could have said that her party did not win as many seats as it had hoped.

In my view, neither Akhilesh Yadav nor Mayawati are wrong. Both these two top leaders sat together and worked out poll arithmetic by adding the vote shares of their respective parties based on caste. But the ground reality in 2019 in UP was different. Voters had shunned caste based vote bank politics, and were openly rooting for Narendra Modi. Both Akhilesh and Mayawati misjudged this by saying that this was only a fake atmosphere being created by TV news channels.

Akhilesh is young and he lacks experience. I hope after this electoral drubbing he must have realized his mistakes. When Akhilesh suddenly announced the alliance with Mayawati at the beginning of election campaign, his father Mulayam Singh Yadav had then remarked that Akhilesh was inexperienced since he has given life to ” a dead elephant “.

Mulayam Singh’s words proved true. Family members of the Yadav clan lost the elections, SP lost much of its vote share and it was Mayawati’s party which upped its tally from zero to ten.

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History has taken a new turn with Modi 2.0 cabinet formation

AK__B (007)On Thursday evening, when I witnessed the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, I realized that history has taken a new turn as far as cabinet formation at the Centre is concerned.

Gone were the days of hectic lobbying to become ministers.New MPs used to take the help of industrialists, senior leaders and even journalists to get plum posts.Not a single MP or minister lobbied this time for plum posts, nor did anybody try to push forward recommendations. Not a single person present at the swearing-in ceremony, except of course the PM, knew who was going to get which portfolio.

I had been closely observing politics for the last 45 years, but I never witnessed such suspense. Most of the speculations about portfolios were later found to be incorrect.

The ground reality is: lobbyists in the corridors of power in Delhi have now become unemployed, thanks to a single man, Modi. The real credit, however, goes to the voters of India who gave Modi a massive mandate as a strong Prime Minister. The results will be there for all to see in the coming five years.

The biggest surprise was the induction of S. Jayashankar, former Foreign Secretary, as India’s External Affairs Minister. Modi had appreciated Jayashankar’s work as foreign secretary, when he used to accompany him on foreign visits to meet world leaders like Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Modi has appointed him EAM because he works quietly, thinks out of the box and is a great strategist. India has big trade issues coming up with the US and India under Modi has to forge strong relations with the US, China, Russia, Japan and other powers. Since Modi is already in the elite group of world leaders, he needs men like Jayashankar to assist him in matters relating to world affairs. If India is to become a world power, it needs strategists and diplomats of the calibre of Jayashankar.

Those who think that Nirmala Sitharaman as Finance Minister will prove to be a poor substitute to Arun Jaitley are going to be proved wrong. They do not know much about her calibre. She took charge of Defence portfolio, and performed with aplomb. She replied to Rahul Gandhi’s charges on Rafale deal in Parliament with conviction. She had good counselling from Arun Jaitley during this period.

As far as Finance ministry is concerned, she had already held the Commerce and Corporate Affairs portfolios in the past. You may recollect that Arun Jaitley, who is presently recovering from treatment, had written to the Prime Minister, offering help to the party and government, even while being confined to his home. At the swearing-in ceremony, I was told by many that they sorely feel the absence of Jaitley, but I know he is not a person to sit idle at home. Even if doctors advise him to take complete rest, he is surely going to remain active, and Nirmala Sitharaman should have nothing to worry about.

About other ministers, I can only say that Modi is a man who always tries new experiments, has new ideas and gives chances to new persons to take up new challenges. Normally big leaders do not take such risks, but Modi is totally different. Modi assigns work to those ministers whom he believes they can perform. There were expectations that Modi would give chance to more MPs from Bengal to become ministers, but since most of them are first time MPs, he wants them to understand the working of the system in Lutyens zone first.

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