Amit Shah at Home in All 8 Committees of Modi Cabinet, Rajnath Missing from Key Panel

New Delhi: Reflecting his indisputable trust in Amit Shah, PM Narendra Modi inducted the first-time minister into eight cabinet committees formed on Wednesday.

In an official notification, it was announced that under the Transaction of Business Rules, the government has reconstituted eight key cabinet committees. While PM Modi will chair six of these committees, home minister Amit Shah will be a part of all eight and defence minister Rajnath Singh will be in six panels.

These committees are the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Accommodation, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, Cabinet Committee on Security, Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth and Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development.

Shah’s inclusion becomes significant as the minister next to the PM in cabinet usually presides over the political affairs committee in the absence of the prime minister.

Rajnath Singh, who moved to defence ministry after heading the home ministry for five years, is in the Cabinet Committees on Economic Affairs and Security but is missing from Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.

Besides Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ram Vilas Paswan, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Harsh Vardhan, Piyush Goyal, Arvind Sawant and Pralhad Joshi are members of the political affairs committee.

The newly-inducted home minister, who has been Modi’s most trusted lieutenant since the 1980s when both started their political careers in Gujarat, made a grand entry in the prime minister’s group of ministers on May 31. He emerged from the backstage, from where he directed the BJP’s ascent to its zenith, and came in the forefront of Modi’s second government.

Shah’s cabinet berth and other perks were anticipated, considering the party’s performance under him and the duo’s equation.

When Shah laid the ground for Modi’s return as Gujarat chief minister in 2002, he was rewarded with 10 portfolios, including home, law and justice, prison, border security and housing. A repeat performance on a national level had to fetch him more.

The move, however, has made some question if Modi is grooming Shah for administration. “Amit Shah’s transition is complete. He is now the legitimised inheritor of Modi’s legacy,” political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay has claimed.

By the time the tenure of Modi 2.0 comes to an end in 2024, Modi will be 73 years old. Given the rule he has set for the party — of encouraging those above 75 years of age to retire from active politics — it will be time for the BJP, in case it wins a third straight term in Lok Sabha, to appoint its successor. Will today’s cabinet minister be tomorrow’s prime minister? It is a line of thought worth pursuing.

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