NEW DELHI : Kiren Rijiju has been replaced as the Minister of State, Law and shunted to the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Arjun Ram Meghwal replaces him as minister with independent charge of the ministry. The order to this effect was communicated today morning by the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Kiren Rijiju has been replaced as the Minister of State, Law and shunted to the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Arjun Ram Meghwal replaces him as minister with independent charge of the ministry. The order to this effect was communicated today morning by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Rijiju, a three-time Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh, was appointed as the Law Minister in July 2021 replacing Ravi Shankar Prasad. He has previously served as the Minority Affairs minister as well as the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports in the Narendra Modi cabinet.n Reacting to the decision, Rijiju, 51, said that it was a privilege for him to have served as the Law minister and thanked the Chief Justice of India and all judges of the Supreme Court and high courts. He also said that he looks forward to fulfill the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Earth Sciences ministry as its minister.
Ahead of the 2024 general elections, the possibility of a reshuffle in the Union Council of Ministers this month has gained ground with the performance of ministers and the ruling party’s political imperatives likely to drive changes, according to several new agencies.While Meghwal gets the promotion from the Minister of State to Minister of State (independent charge), it appears that the stature of the Law Ministry has been lowered as it will now be administered by the Minister of State (independent charge) and not by a Cabinet Minister. Also, in case of a Ministry headed by a Minister of State (Independent Charge), it normally does not have a Minister of State. All the Cabinet Ministers are regular participants in Cabinet meetings, while the Minister of State (Independent Charges) is a special invitee to the Cabinet meeting when any subject related to his Ministry is being taken for discussion.
Though the government and BJP were tight lipped, it is believed that Rijiju’s strident criticism of the judiciary, particularly on the system of appointment of Judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court did not go down well. On various occasions, he had slammed the collegium system of appointments to the higher judiciary as “alien” to the Constitution and even accused a few retired judges of being part of the “anti-India gang”.
Before general polls next year, there are nine states and the union territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir are scheduled to go for polls in 2023. Amid this, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is preparing for a high-octane battle in Karnataka and Telangana while Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh are also pitched to see keen contests.Though there has been no official word, PTI sources said that the rejig in the cabinet is likely to occur anytime this month before the start of the Budget Session of Parliament on January 31. The executive meeting of BJP is scheduled on January 16-17, 2023.
Similarly, IANS sources noted that top BJP leadership is contemplating a change in Madhya Pradesh but there is no confirmation yet on the same, but in the reshuffle, new faces from Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan could enter the Union Council of Ministers.
States like Bihar, and West Bengal could see downsizing but some performing ministers may be retained. A full-time minister for Cooperatives is also on the anvil. IANS reported.There is a view that the party’s standout win in the Gujarat assembly polls and the lessons drawn from the loss in the Himachal Pradesh assembly and the Delhi municipal elections may play a factor in ministerial changes, a PTI news report mentioned.
In the reshuffle, the Shiv Sena faction headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who commands the support of a majority of Sena MPs, is likely to get representation.There is also a view that the BJP may reward Chirag Paswan who is seen as the political heir to his father and stalwart Dalit leader from Bihar Ram Vilas Paswan. Meanwhile, a minority face could also be inducted in the Union cabinet and sources indicate that person from Jammu & Kashmir could be considered.
“In view of the Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly elections to be held in the coming days, the BJP has decided that national President J.P Nadda will get an extension and the state Presidents will not be changed unless there is a demand for a replacement,” an IANS source said.”And there will be no change in the organisation until it is more necessary,” the source added. The changes in Modi’s council of ministers have always been marked by shock exits and surprise entries and have also hit headlines for the changes in portfolios of incumbents. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejigged his team only once, in July 2021, in his second term, unlike in his first stint, when he reshuffled and expanded his council three times.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs).