Team Manmohan has been finalized, the list of names was announced on Wednesday -- a careful balance of caste, regional and other factors explains why this process has taken 10 gruelling days of meetings, hard bargaining and compromises.
It has also taken care of the regional balance. Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is a notable name ahead of Maharashtra elections.
Deshmukh illustrates criterion in selecting the ministry -- upcoming state elections. In the absence of Shivraj Patil, Deshmukh represents the important Marathwada region in the elections due around in October.
In fact, with Deshmukh pushing for the party to drop the NCP as an ally for the assembly election, regional representation and caste played a major role.
Selection of ministers: Criteria
- Upcoming Assembly elections a factor
- Deshmukh, others selected based on regional representation
- Region and caste a major factor
Virbhadra Singh, Farooq Abdullah, Dayanidhi Maran, M Azhagiri, Mallikarjun Kharge will all get Cabinet berths.
The average age of the Cabinet falls considerably with lots of younger faces especially among the Ministers of State, Sachin Pilot, Jiten Prasada, Shashi Tharoor, Aghatha Sangma, Jyotiraditya Scindia all will be sworn in on Thursday.
In addition there will be seven Ministers of State with Independent charge including Praful Patel, Prithviraj Chavan, Jairam Ramesh and Salman Khurshid among others.
In Karnataka, the Congress lost two seats there yet it's got four ministers. This could be to make up for last time when there was only one minister at the Centre. More central ministers could perhaps help it recover ground lost to the BJP.
- Congress got fewer seats
- Yet four ministers
- Also there are caste considerations (SM Krishna, V Moily, Kharge, KH Muniyappa). Each of the four ministers represent the separate and important castes and communities
Uttar Pradesh gets five berths but not a single Cabinet post.
All will be Ministers of State, three of them with Independent charge. Sources say Rahul Gandhi played a key role. The state unit wanted six berths but even a lower number could help the Congress continue its revival in the state that began with it winning a phenomenal 21 seats.
- Under-represented in last ministry
- Congress hopes to recover lost ground from BJP
- State unit wanted 6 berths
- Got 5; no Cabinet berth
- Rahul played key role: Sources
- Good representation should help party's revival in UP
"We hope this will help in the turnaround in UP," said Salman Khurshid, MP, Congress.
But careful handling had to go even for the tiny state of Himachal Pradesh. It elected only one Congress MP, Virbhadhra Singh. So many the Congress state unit were said to be angry that Anand Sharma, a Rajya Sabha member became Cabinet Minister but five time chief minister Virbhadra Singh wasn't . Which is why he tops the list on the PM's website on Wednesday.
- Only 1 Congress MP elected
- RS member Anand Sharma's elevation upset state Congress
- Virbhadhra Singh made Cabinet Minister
There are several surprises, big names including some from the previous cabinet that are missing.
- HR Bharadwaj
- Saif-ud-din Soz
- Arjun Singh
- Ashwini Kumar
- Oscar Fernandes
No portfolios announced on Wednesday and for that we'll have to wait another day but here's the next Cabinet in numbers.
This time the average age of the Cabinet is around 62 years, that is a little less than the 66 years when the UPA first took over in 2004. Agatha Sangma is the youngest minister ever.
"Surprised to hear from the PM," said Agatha Sangma, MP, NCP.
Team Manmohan in numbers:
- Average age of Cabinet
- 2009: 61.9 years
- 2004: 66.1 years
- First time Ministers: 29
- Ministers below 40: 4
- Ministers above 70: 7