The Big Four in Team Modi 2.0

Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, S Jaishankar and Nirmala Sitharaman are the four senior BJP leaders who have bagged key ministerial posts in the new cabinet

S Jaishankar, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nirmala Sitharaman
S Jaishankar, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nirmala Sitharaman

NH Web Desk

Amit Shah gets Home Ministry

BJP President and party chief strategist Amit Shah’s political acumen is now well known but little is known about his love for the markets and his ability to take investment risks to maximise gains for himself.

It now comes across Shah's love for blue chips and his constant engagement with stock markets has been one of the reasons that he is now being considered for a deeper financial role in new Modi government by being the next finance minister of the country. Though portfolios are still to be distributed, buzz of his role in the Finance Ministry is doing rounds for some time now.

Shah's affidavits to the Election Commission reflect his love for blue chips and his active participation in stock markets that have already reached historic highs maximising returns for investors.

Shah, 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.

Rajnath Singh Gets Defence Ministry

Rajnath Singh, Former Union Home Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Lucknow has been assigned the Defence Ministry.

Rajnath Singh was associated with the RSS at the age of 13, in 1964. He continued to be associated with the RSS even while working as a lecturer in Mirzapur at the KB Post Graduate College.

He has been a politician for over four decades and was made the district president of the Jana Sangh in 1975. He became an MLA in 1977.

In 1994, he became a Rajya Sabha MP. Singh was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh between 2000 and 2002 after which he served as minister of agriculture in Vajpayee’s cabinet between 2003 and 2004. He was also the president of the BJP before Amit Shah from 2013 and 2014.

Nirmala Sitharaman gets Finance Ministry

Nirmala Sitharaman has been assigned the important portfolio of Finance along with Corporate Affairs.

With a slowing economy and rising unemployment, her job is clearly cut out. She would be presenting the Union Budget in July.

Since she has already served as a junior Minister in Finance and Corporate Affairs earlier, it won't be difficult for her to get into action from day one.

That she is a post-graduate in Economics will be an advantage.

Before becoming the Defence Minister in the previous Modi government, Sitharaman served as the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs. She was also Minister for Commerce and Industry with independent charge.

Prior to getting a ministerial berth after the BJP took power in 2014, Sitharaman served as a spokesperson for the party.

S Jaishankar becomes first career diplomat to be appointed External Affairs minister

Former foreign secretary S Jaishankar was given charge of the External Affairs Ministry on Friday, the first career diplomat to handle the key portfolio.

Considered an expert on China and the US, the new External Affairs minister's moves will be keenly watched to see whether he brings any changes in India's approach in dealing with a hostile Pakistan.

Jaishankar, who takes charge of the ministry nearly 16 months after he retired as foreign secretary, will also have to deal with overall expectations of expanding India's global influence and stature, particularly in key multilateral forums like G-20, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and BRICS.

However, a major focus of the ministry under his leadership is likely to be on further boosting India's trade and defence ties with the US, Russia, France, Japan and the European Union as well as with the countries of the neighbourhood.

Another challenge for him will be to further strengthen India's ties with China, badly hit by the Doklam standoff in mid 2017.

The 64-year-old -- who is not a member of either the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha at this point -- is also likely to push for deepening cooperation with the African continent where China is fast expanding its influence and presence.

Getting the long-awaited membership of the UN Security Council and Nuclear Suppliers Group is expected to be another area of interests of the new government.

A graduate of St Stephen's College, Jaishankar is an MA in Political Science and an MPhil and PhD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

Jaishankar is married to Kyoko Jaishankar and has two sons and a daughter.

With inputs from agencies

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Published: 31 May 2019, 3:37 PM