Inside Track | Coomi Kapoor Writes: Rising Star


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.

Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023, in Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, (PTI Photo)

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.

In non-BJP-ruled states, however, the Central government’s gubernatorial choices are rather different. They are generally newcomers to the Sangh fold who have to prove their credentials by taking on Opposition-run state governments in an adversarial capacity, in cynical defiance of the Constitution’s federal character where the Governor’s role is meant to be largely ceremonial. R N Ravi in Tamil Nadu, Arif Mohammed Khan in Kerala, Jagdeep Dhankhar in West Bengal, Anil Baijal and Vinai Kumar Saxena in Delhi and Kiran Bedi in Puducherry were among those who fell in the latter category.Dhankhar was rewarded for his running battle with Mamata Banerjee by being made vice president, as it was felt he would be similarly useful in tackling difficult opposition MPs in the Rajya Sabha. In a bid to emulate Dhankhar, Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, a former police officer, went overboard in confronting the DMK government.


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