Big names such as Yogi Adityanath, Piyush Goyal and Devendra Fadnavis were mentioned as possible speakers at the Davos conference, but eventually Ashwini Vaishnaw, Smriti Irani and Mansukh Mandaviya were chosen.
Vaishnaw is considered a rising star in the government. His rivals say his ‘GOR’ status give him an edge: G standing for Gujarat where Vaishnaw’s business was set up; O for Odisha which is the favoured state cadre which Vaishnaw belonged to during his tenure in the IAS; while R represents Rajasthan, his home state from where other powerful persons, including the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman, also come from. Vaishnaw scored points with Modi because of his performance in briefing select journalists on good governance, a subject which is not part of his ministerial portfolios of railways, communication and electronics. Modi tested several ministers on their ability to hold forth on subjects outside their respective ministries.The joke used to be that Raj Bhavans were plush retirement homes for party veterans with impeccable Sangh backgrounds. Anandiben Patel, 81, in Uttar Pradesh, Kalraj Mishra, 81, in Rajasthan, Jagdish Mukhi, 80, in Assam, Bandaru Dattatreya, 75, in Haryana, Thawar Chand Gehlot, 74, in Karnataka, and Bhagat Singh Koshyari, 80, in Maharashtra, are among those who fall in this category.