After being left out initially, Rajnath Singh added to key cabinet panels
Rajnath Singh, who is no.2 in hierarchy, will be a part of panel on parliamentary affairs.
The "amended" composition of the Cabinet Committees released on Thursday evening said Singh, who is number 2 in hierarchy, will also be a part of CCPA and Cabinet Committees on Parliamentary Affairs, Investment and Growth as well as Employment and Skill Development, meaning he would now be on six of the eight panels. This is essentially maintaining the status quo as earlier as Singh as Home Minister was part of all six cabinet committees in the earlier government, while two more panels have been constituted this time.
A statement issued earlier on Thursday morning had shown Singh as part of only the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) and the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), leading to speculation on a changed hierarchy in the Narendra Modi-led government in this second term, with home minister Amit Shah being part of all the eight committees.
The earlier exclusion of Singh from CCPA came under focus as his predecessors in the Defence Ministry were part of CCPA. Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar were part of CCPA.
The amended composition shows the government was quick to realise that this could ignite the debate on who the number two is in the Cabinet. Singh, a former BJP president, is a political heavyweight, and enjoys the backing from the RSS as well.
The CCPA sits in decision on all major political matters of the government and hence BJP allies such as Ramvilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party, Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Arvind Ganpat Sawant of the Shiv Sena are its members. The other members of the CCPA are Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsh Vardhan, Narendra Singh Tomar and Pralhad Joshi.
It remains to be seen whom Modi will designate in-charge when he travels abroad on his first foreign visit to Maldives– as per convention, the PM leaves a note with the cabinet secretary on who will chair an urgent cabinet meeting if one is required to be convened in his absence from the country.