Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new council of ministers will hold a three-day conclave next week to chalk out an agenda for the remaining three years of the government's term, sources said on Friday, as the government looks for ways to tackle simmering public resentment.
For the first time since he came to power in 2014, PM Modi's government has been seen struggling in recent months to counter criticism over a range of issues from its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising cost of living, to the persistent pushback against its new agricultural laws.
Last month, he dropped a dozen ministers including those for health, IT and oil in a bid to reinvigorate his government and insulate himself from the criticism. A host of new faces, with special consideration for upcoming state elections, were sworn in into the new cabinet.
In their first major huddle since taking oath, the new team of ministers are set to meet for three days starting Tuesday after 6 pm in the parliament annexe to chart a course for the next three years, sources in the BJP told NDTV.
The work of all the ministries over the last month will be reviewed and targets will be set, they said. New ministers will also be briefed in detail about their departments and ministries and what is expected of them, they added.
With seven states set to hold elections next year and national polls due in 2024, the BJP and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have been worried about the dents in PM Modi's popularity which failed to sway enough voters in West Bengal this year.
Many of the party's decisions in recent months from the cabinet revamp to restructuring its leadership in states like Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have been driven by these factors.
After returning to power in 2019, while the government had been able to list two announcements in its first two years - scrapping Jammu and Kashmir's special status and the construction of the Ram Temple in Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya - as major achievements, it has been seen floundering in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and incessant opposition attacks since last year.
Besides the disastrous handling of the second coronavirus wave and dogged resistance by farmers against a set of reforms, an eye-watering rise in prices of fuel, cooking oil and other essentials have earned the government considerable disfavour from middle-class voters in recent months.