Ministers In, Suspense Remains
Top questions on the political grapevine as 9 new ministers take oath
- PT Bureau
Top questions on the political grapevine as 9 new ministers take oath

NEW DELHI, Sep 3: As nine new ministers take oath at the Rashtrapati Bhawan this morning, and the country's eyes are riveted on the television screens beaming the ceremony live, suspense will remain perhaps for a few more hours.

That is because many questions will be answered only when the list of portfolios is announced.

Here are the burning questions in the air that India's political who's who is breathing inside the Rashtrapati Bhawan:
1. If Puri is made Foreign Minister, will Sushma Swaraj be edged out of the Cabinet or will she be made the Defence Minister? Swaraj, it is now clear, had been reduced to an NRI troubles minister, while foreign ministry was being run by the PM and NSA Ajit Doval.

2. Will Suresh Prabhu be a victim of a spree of railway accidents? 

3. Piyush Goel is set to be promoted to Cabinet rank. Will he take over Indian Raiways?

4. Will Smriti Irani continue to be the I&B Minister, which will confirm her pre-eminent position, or will she lose the high-profile job?

5. Cloud remains about Uma Bharti's fate.

6. Will Ravi Shanker Prasad get a new portfolio? Ditto for JP Nadda? Remember, Himachal Pradesh election is approaching fast.

7. Uma Bharti was asked to resign. Then she met Amit Shah. It is clear she is not resigning. So how did she convince the party and the PM? Will her portfolio be changed? 
The biggest question, however, remains if political promotions/demotions have now really started happening on the basis of performance reports? That is a question political pundits are likely to debate for a long time.

Given the state of the economy, PM Narendra Modi has been successful in shifting the focus from criticism of sliding growth, the damage that demonetisation wreaked, the failure to create jobs and many other economic negatives. 

It is remarkable that in any performance audit of the Union ministry, there is no message about the performance of the Finance Minister/Ministry. In his defence, Arun Jaitley may have argued he was never a part of the demonetisation decision and merely went along.

But isn’t one message being sent out clearly even now? That all ministries are being run by the PMO and that man called Mr Amit Shah?


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