India Insight

A user’s guide to India’s cabinet reshuffle

(Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters.)

In what is most likely the last cabinet reshuffle for the UPA-II government  before the 2014 general elections, 22 ministers were sworn in at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday.

Here is the background, as explained by Frank Jack Daniel and Mayank Bhardwaj of Reuters:

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave his cabinet an overdue facelift on Sunday, bringing in younger ministers in a bid to breathe new life into his aged, scandal-tainted government ahead of state and federal elections. The reshuffle, which has been on the cards for six months, may be Singh’s last chance to significantly change the direction of his government and convince voters the ruling Congress party deserves a third consecutive term in 2014.

The rejig, most analysts say, was done to create a team that will lead the government in the run-up to the polls. While Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, chose not to join the government and work for the Congress party, the new-look government with a mix of young guns and experienced politicians is a welcome step. Here’s why I think some of the key players will do well at their new jobs.

Will Indian politicians follow in Obama’s e-footsteps?

As the dust settles on a two-year-long election campaign that has now given the United States its first African-American president in Barack Obama, I do wonder if there is a message for Indian politicians from the messenger of change… at least from the way he ran for the White House.

Obama aka ‘the digital candidate’ left no stone unturned in the race to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For a man who managed to draw crowds in tens of thousands wherever he spoke, Obama realized early in his campaign that his message of ‘change’ had to spread well beyond Democrats and the undecided voters. He wanted America’s youth to be on board and he ensured they did.

He reached out to them by making himself accessible online. Obama used Web 2.0 with a passion, engaging and interacting with them on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and also used new platforms like podcasts, online video and text messages to get his message across.