Modi's Cabinet omits 16 states and UTs

Modi's Cabinet omits 16 states and UTs

While UP gets maximum ministers, HP and Uttarakhand left empty-handed

Modi's Cabinet omits 16 states and UTs

From Kashmir to Kanyakumari — Narendra Modi’s government can quote this adage as ministers from the extreme north to the southern tip were sworn in on Monday. However, little representation to states like Rajasthan has caused heartburns.

Sixteen states and Union territories, including West Bengal and Kerala have no representation at all in the Council of Ministers. Forty-six ministers, including 24 of Cabinet rank, took oath of office and secrecy at a magnificent ceremony at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Modi has included Jitendra Singh, an MP from Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as Pon Radhakrishnan from Kanyakumari in his council of  ministers. It also has Mansukhbhai Vasava from Bharuch in western Gujarat and Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh, which sent 71 BJP MPs out of 80 seats, bagged eight berths, the highest among states. Modi appears to be balancing the caste factor by bringing in Kalraj Mishra, a Brahmin, as BJP chief Rajnath Singh, a Thakur, is tipped to get the plum home ministry. The surprise inclusion from the state is Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjay Ballyan, who is accused in the last year's riots and won with a landslide margin.

Maharashtra, where the NDA had a good result, follows UP with six berths with one going to Anant Geete of the Shiv Sena. Modi has also brought in Nitin Gadkari and his archrival Gopinath Munde in the Cabinet.

While UP got the maximum ministers, states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand where BJP bagged cent per cent seats could not find a place in the first edition of the Modi government.

Rajasthan, with 25 BJP MPs, got just a Minister of State in Nihal Chand, elected from Ganganagar seat.

A list in circulation in media circles earlier in the day did not have the name of any Rajasthan MP. This led to speculation but Chief Minister Vasundhare Raje was quoted as saying not to panic. Ultimately, Chand was called for the swearing-in, ending speculation.

Himachal Pradesh (4 BJP MPs) and Uttarakhand (5), which elected only BJP MPs, not finding a place in the Modi scheme of things left supporters of senior leaders like Shantakumar (HP) and B C Khanduri, B C Koshiyari and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (Uttarakhand) in gloom. West Bengal, which sent two BJP MPs, also did not find a space in the Council of Ministers.

Kerala, which neither elected a single BJP MP nor got a ministerial berth, may find a place in the next expansion. Kerala leader O Rajagopal may be inducted later through the Rajya Sabha route. North-eastern states, except Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, as well as all union territories did not get any representation. However, Modi's state Gujarat got four Union ministers, including Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani.

Another state where BJP won handsomely was Madhya Pradesh (27 out of 29 seats) and it got four Cabinet ministers. Sushma Swaraj leads the pack along with the MP state BJP president N S Tomar.

Bihar (22 BJP MPs) has got two Cabinet rank ministers and one for ally Ramvilas Paswan. Aiming to cash in on the goodwill in Haryana, which is going to Assembly polls later this year, Modi has given a chance to two MPs from the state.