Updated: June 12, 2021 7:03:10 am
With the falling Covid curve giving some breathing space and the announcement of vaccine procurement dialing down some tension between the Centre and states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is learnt to be engaged in an extensive “discussion and consultative” exercise within the government on the task and the road ahead.
BJP president J P Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and many other ministers dropped in at the PM’s 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence Friday evening.
Though there was no official word, this meeting — that ran into hours and ended late Friday night — is significant as it also comes after interactions between the top leadership and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Last week, Modi held a set of free-wheeling meetings with top BJP office-bearers. He is also, sources said, meeting his Ministerial colleagues in small groups. While he has held Cabinet meetings through video-conferencing, these are in-person and at his residence. Moreover, while Cabinet meetings have a pre-set agenda, these are “free-wheeling,” and many have gone on for hours.
The focus, sources said, has been on working out a roadmap on vaccination and ensuring that unlike the last time, the falling Covid curve does not lead to a lowering of guard. But Ministers declined to discuss what transpired.
“The PM keeps meeting Ministers and taking feedback. What’s the big deal? Don’t link these to speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle,” said a Minister.
Achhaaiyan, buraaiyan…sab par charcha (positive, negative, all are discussed),” said another Minister. A source close to a third minister said that these meetings were “administrative” in nature even as they dealt with “matters of policy and to-do lists” with vaccines as one focus.
Coming after the party’s defeat in West Bengal following a high-octane campaign led by the PM himself and widespread criticism over the mismanagement that led — and marked — the devastating second wave, these meetings are seen as part of a renewed political process that will also dovetail into the build-up to the crucial Assembly elections in UP.
Sources said there is a sense in the ruling establishment that with three years to go into this term, this could be the “opportune” moment to hit the reset key to recover lost ground and to arrest the sense of drift that marked the worst phase in the second Covid wave. To that effect, a successful vaccination programme is seen as key. In this context, some leaders are even speculating about the possibility of a reshuffle.
Nadda’s presence at the meeting Friday underlines the political framing of the exercise.
For its part, the BJP, too, has begun its political spadework in UP. It sent central leaders to connect with senior state leaders in Lucknow and subsequently CM Adityanath called on Modi, Nadda and Shah. Shah also met leaders of party’s junior alliance partners, Anupriya Patel and Sanjay Nishad.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.