The entire country applauded Narendramodi for having avoided alarge cabinet at his swearing-in ceremony. There was satisfaction that a compact Cabinet will be there and it will be carefully watched and that there will be severe performance standards. It was expected that a non-performingminister will be punished and Ministers whodeliver willberewarded.
But suddenly,there seems to be the great pressure coming on NarendraModi for a largeexpansion. The entire BJP party now seems tobe demanding a large cabinet and how such–and-such a person must be included, etc.
There are news stories of how UtranchalState is notrepresented. Or how Bengal with 2 MPs is also notrepresented. Moreover, allies seem to be putting quiet pressure for more Ministers. The pressure is coming from un-employed “seniors’, ambitious younger MPs, former Ministersof Vajpayee cabinet and Allies like the Shiv Sena, TDP and others. Then the children of important BJP leaders who are MPs also want to be Ministers. If Modi accommodates the children of Chief Ministers, then his image will go down immediately.
There are no advantages to having a larger cabinet. If Modi goes for expanding his cabinet and the figure exceeds 70, then what is the differencebetween his government and the UPA governments or others?
There could have been better talent in the Cabinet. People with stature like Jaswant Singh should have been there. The present talent pool of the BJP is sharply limited. There are a lot of “nice people “around. But nice people do not make great ministers. The great danger for Modi is that he mightinduct deadwood and even negatively–oriented Ministers. if Modi succumbs to pressure, then it will start the decline of his Ministry and government.
Modi should also remember what the great British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan said nearly 50 years ago. “A good prime Minister must be a good butcher“. Modi must be careful in what kind of Ministers he takes in. Modi must also remember the statement of Harold Macmillanand brutally dismiss Ministers who bring taint to his government or are just plain in-efficient.
In the next couple of weeks, we will know what Modi will do with regard to the expansion.