In 3rd term, India's Modi keeps key ministers, indicating policy 'continuity' in new coalition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi retains interior, defense, foreign, finance ministers as he begins new term with support of allies

08:56 - 11/06/2024 Salı
File Photo
File Photo

Following his third election victory in a row, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi retained key members of his Cabinet as he began third term Monday.

Modi's decision to keep his interior, defense, foreign, and finance ministers indicates his Bhartiya Janaya Party's (BJP) desire for policy "continuity" in government, observers say.

"Definitely, it is an indication that he (Modi) wants to run the government with experienced people who already know and have been setting the policies for last five years and they don't have to learn anything or pick up things, which will take time," New Delhi-based governance and public policy expert Niranjan Sahoo told Anadolu.

Modi was sworn-in as prime minister for a third term on Sunday as the BJP secured the government with the help of about 15 allies. Altogether, the coalition controls 293 seats in the lower house of Parliament, a majority in the Lok Sabha's total of 543 members.

In a Cabinet of 71, Modi allotted 11 ministries to his allies.

Veteran BJP politician Amit Shah stayed as home minister, while Rajnath Singh will continue as defense minister, former diplomat Subrahmanyam Jaishankar as foreign minister, and Nirmala Sitharaman as finance minister.

Unlike his two previous Cabinets, there is no Muslim minister this time in Modi's government, including the minority affairs portfolio, which was handed to Kiren Rijiju, another senior BJP leader.

Modi's oath-taking ceremony also marked the return of coalition politics in India as the BJP required the help of allies to form a government for a third term.

Sahoo suggested that this could be an obstacle for continuity, saying the presence of other parties in the government will "bring its own dynamics."

"There will be some polices, which will be objected (to) or contested by the alliance partners ... a lot of policy matters will be collectively decided," he said.

According to Sahoo, junior coalition partners will have "discretionary powers" due to their instrumental role in keeping the government afloat, despite their low number.

The results of the elections, which began on April 19 and concluded on June 1, gave the BJP 240 seats in the Lok Sabha — 32 short of the majority it would need to form a government on its own.

It was only with the support of the Telugu Desam Party, Janata Dal (United), and other partners that the Modi-led government was able to secure its third term with 293 seats.

On his first day in office on Monday, Modi ordered the release of the 17th instalment of a farmer support scheme known as PM Kisan Nidhi, which benefits 930 million in the agricultural sector and distributes roughly 200 billion Indian rupees ($2.39 billion).

#Narendra Modi
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