- He is the first minister in the new Cabinet to call such a meeting
- The meeting also featured Home Minister Amit Shah
- It discussed strategies to be adopted in the upcoming Parliament session
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was seen to be making a point on Friday as he held an informal meeting of ministers, just a day after he was added to the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs and other cabinet panels he had earlier been left out of.
Sources say the meeting was called to discuss strategies to be adopted in the upcoming parliament session. Rajnath Singh is the first minister to call such a meeting after Prime Minister Narendra Modi started a second term last week.
The meeting also featured Home Minister Amit Shah, whose inclusion in all eight cabinet committees is seen as a big indicator that he is the de facto number two in the government.
In the first list of committees put out by the government on Thursday morning, Rajnath Singh was named in only two. He was not included even in the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, which was seen to be highly unusual since the minister who is number two in the government - by convention the person who is sworn in right after the prime minister - usually presides over the cabinet and the political affairs committee in the absence of the Prime Minister.
In what was seen as a sign of Home Minister Amit Shah's status as de-facto Number 2 in the government, the BJP chief was named in all eight committees. PM Modi is in six of them. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is in seven panels and Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal in five.
On Thursday evening, Rajnath Singh's office denied reports that he was added to four more cabinet committees after the veteran BJP leader threatened to quit. Sources suggest an intervention by the RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP, after an upset Rajnath Singh protested the perceived slight.
With the revision, Rajnath Singh has been named in six committees above Amit Shah - except the panels on appointments and accommodation. The Cabinet Appointments Committee has only PM Modi and Amit Shah.