Indian PM Modi unveils coalition Cabinet dominated by his party


NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled on Monday (Jun 10) his coalition government after a surprise election setback lost his Hindu-nationalist party an overall majority.

The 71 members of his government took the oath of office after Modi on Sunday, with 11 posts going to coalition allies who extracted them in exchange for their support – including five in the top 30 Cabinet posts.

But Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) old guard dominate the list, with key posts unchanged – signalling broad policy continuity.

That includes BJP loyalists Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar – the defence, interior, transport, finance and foreign ministers respectively, staying on in their jobs.

Powerful BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda was named as health minister.

Posts given to coalition leaders include civil aviation, to Kinjarapu Rammohan Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the BJP’s biggest ally.

Other coalition posts include smaller ministries such as heavy industry, food processing and fisheries.

There are no Muslim lawmakers among his third-term lineup, unlike his past two governments, both formed after his right-wing BJP won a majority.

Modi’s decade as premier has seen him cultivate an image as an aggressive champion of the country’s majority Hindu faith, worrying minorities including the country’s 200-million-plus Muslim community.

“Honoured to serve Bharat”, Modi wrote after he was sworn into office, using the country’s name in Sanskrit, a word dating back to ancient Hindu scriptures.

He held his first Cabinet meeting Monday evening, where plans were approved for assistance for 30 million new homes for poor families.

Modi had been forced into quick-fire talks with coalition partners in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), whose 293 seats guaranteed him the parliamentary numbers to govern.



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