NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — It is not unusual in India to witness major regig of the council of ministers running the federal government. The country's law permits the prime minister to choose, reshuffle, lay off and expand his cabinet as and when required.
However, Tuesday's cabinet expansion had something new to be recorded in Indian history. Two of the newly inducted ministers chose to cycle their way to the oath-taking venue in a stark contrast to their other colleagues who came in luxury vehicles.
Arjun Meghwal, the new junior minister for Finance and Mansukh Mandaviya, junior minister for Road Transport and Highways, were keenly followed by admirers and the media as they road their bicycles towards the Rashtrapati Bhawan for the oath-taking. Soon, their videos and photos set the social media abuzz.
Meghwal, a Bharatiya Janta Party lawmaker from the state of Rajasthan was the first to take up the environment-friendly practice, inspiring Mandaviya and a handful of other lawmakers to travel to the Parliament house on bicycles. The Indian media has dubbed these lawmakers as 'bicycle boys'.
Another aspect of the cabinet expansion that attracted the media glare was the 'demotion' of Smriti Irani from the coveted position of Minister for Education and Human Resources and Development to the less glossy position of Minister of Textiles. Irani has been the most controversial figure in Modi's cabinet for her handling of unrest in universities and her dubious educational qualification. She is the most trolled Indian. Her demotion triggered some hard-hitting, funny as well as sympathetic reactions on twitter.
Finally PM Modi gets a wisdom for education system of India and removed Smriti Irani from sensitive HRD Ministry #ByeByeSmriti— Youth Congress (@IYC) 6 July 2016
Nineteen new leaders took oath as ministers, who, according to sources, were selected for their professional experience and expertise, in concurrence with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development model. Critics viewed this as a desperate attempt by the Prime Minister to give his government a face-lift ahead of crucial elections at the state level where his Bharatiya Janta Party hopes to wrest power from formidable opponents.