Free Press Journal

Does Narendra Modi values his 282 Lok Sabha MPs?


New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses with new members of cabinet after the reshuffle at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI Photo (PTI9_3_2017_000041B)

In May 2014, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Narendra Modi came to power at the centre after being out of office for 10 years. Congress, the grand old party, were reduced to mere 44 seats and people of India showed their power and threw out Congress which was mired in corruption, scams, policy paralysis and overall apathy cutting across sections. BJP, which claims that it is a party with a difference won a huge mandate by getting 282 seats on its own and cleared the half way mark of 272 quite comfortably.

The prime minister of India Narendra Modi has said that he believes in ‘maximum governance and minimum government’. But, to the contrary, the situation is vastly different when it comes to the representation of union council of ministers and the preference shown to the upper house i.e. Rajya Sabha is quite palpable. BJP has 282 Lok Sabha MPs, but their representation is quite miniscule. The decision to induct any member into the ministry is prime minister’s prerogative and he has every right to choose his ministry which he feels comfortable with.

The current strength of union council of ministers is around 75 and most of the plum ministries are given to the Rajya Sabha members. In the current cabinet Arun Jaitley holds finance, Nirmala Sitharaman holds defence, Suresh Prabhu (commerce), JP Nadda (health), Smriti Irani (I & B and textiles), Prakash Javadekar (human resource), Dharmendra Pradhan (petroleum and skill development), Piyush Goyal (railways).

If elected members will not be holding any important ministries apart from Rajnath Singh (home affairs) and Sushma Swaraj (external affairs) than Indian democratic system has failed to deliver on its promises. The recent cabinet reshuffle saw four bureaucrats being inducted into the cabinet and in the case of K Alphons and Hardeep Puri they were not part of either house and will have to get elected in next six months.

Also read: Is Narendra Modi running out of time to deliver on its promises?

The saffron party is currently governing in 18 states on its own and with its alliance partners and you win elections by going past the ballot. The Lok Sabha MPs are all grassroot politicians and deserve to be recognised. Indian system is not like American, where there is presidency and the president has the final authority. There has to be parity in the proceedings and both houses should get their due.

Does BJP not trust its elected members? Are they just there to fill numbers? Doesn’t Modi have belief in them? Does BJP have talent deficit? These questions are raised by opposition and it has some merit regarding the working of the current dispensation. India is world’s largest democracy and elections are held as festival to show the uniqueness of India. BJP has to empower its elected members more and include them in the upper echelons of the ministry. Because, ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ means inclusion of all and that includes giving power to democratically-elected members.