29 July, 2021

In Modi’s Chessboard, Odisha Greenhorn Ashwini Vaishnaw Is The Crusader Knight

The entry of Ashwini Vaishnaw into Modi’s cabinet got a lot of notice, but nowhere more so than in Odisha. Does it mean a thumbs-down for Dharmendra Pradhan? Not quite.

Photograph by PTI
In Modi’s Chessboard, Odisha Greenhorn Ashwini Vaishnaw Is The Crusader Knight
outlookindia.com
2021-07-23T16:30:41+05:30

The biggest takeaway for the BJP’s Odisha unit in the recent reshuffle of the Narendra Modi government is the elevation of Ashwini Vaishnaw (in pic), a first-time MP and political greenhorn, as a cabinet minister with the important portfolios of railways and IT. That PM Modi chose Vaishnaw, the lone BJP Rajya Sabha MP from the state, over much stronger claimants from among the seven Lok Sabha MPs (the eighth, Pratap Sarangi, lost out in the reshuffle sweepstakes) for a berth in the cabinet, in itself, carried a message. It is obvious that the former IAS officer was preferred for his proven efficiency both in the public and private sector rather than because he is an MP from Odisha.

Ordinarily, Vaishnaw’s elevation would have been seen as the clipping of the wings of Dharmendra Pradhan, the new education minister and the BJP’s face in Odisha since 2014, as it would create an alternative power centre in the state unit. The fact that the petroleum ministry, which had been with Pradhan since Modi took over as PM in 2014, was taken away from him might...

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