Sources close to alliance partners like Nitish Kumar and Chandrababu Naidu suggest that neither is happy about the fact that it was limited to a BJP-only affair and that they were not even sounded out. The Opposition in Bihar, especially Lalu Prasad, has made capital of the fact that although Kumar crossed over to the BJP, the BJP has snubbed him. The Shiv Sena has made its opinion on the matter quite clear.
It is possible that weighed down by the BJP’s internal contradictions, the PM opted to limit the fallout, postponing placating the alliance partners.
In caste terms too, the reshuffle is largely limited to upper castes — Brahmin, Bhumihar, Rajput — with the inclusion of just one Dalit (Virendra Kumar, a Khatik from Madhya Pradesh). In appointing retired bureaucrats as ministers with independent charge, the PM might have wanted to signal that performance would be the government’s most important priority in the days to come. But this has also signalled that performance will be the criterion for judging continuance in the government.
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