By Neeraj Bajpai & Malladi Rama Rao New Delhi, May 23 UNI | 2 months ago

Suspense is in the air in the national capital over 'Kaun Banega Mantri?' (Who will become a Minister) with two days more to go for the mega Modi oath taking.

The weather also is adding to the mystery for the open air ceremony in the forecourt of the imposing Rashtrapati Bhavan, blazing hot one day and kicking up a dust storm the next to set the temperature at comfort zone.

Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi began the day today with a call to the Indian envoy in Kabul and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai following the terror strike at the Indian consulate at Herat. Then he became ''Mazdoor Number One'' as promised with a flurry of meetings at Gujarat Bhavan, his temporary headquarters, on his road map to turn around the India scrip.

Arrangements for the 70-minute swearing in ceremony are taking place behind a security blanket as SAARC leaders are special invitees to celebrate the festival of democracy in India.

The invitations to Sri Lankan President and Pakistan Prime Minister have generated much heat with the Tamil Nadu politicians opposing the welcome to Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Congress party criticizing the invitation to Nawaz Sharif.

BJP sources brushed aside the criticism as misplaced and justified the Modi decision saying that the new government is embarking on a new mission, which should be welcomed.

About the composition of the Modi cabinet, the sources said, ''Hold your breath as ministries are being restructured'' to bring cohesion and focus to the working of the government.

Probity, accountability, and delivery in real time will be the bench mark for the ministerial hopefuls and bureaucrats alike. Several CVs are being sifted with due diligence to shape up the cabinet, according to the highly placed sources. While there may be less number of cabinet berths, it would be made up by additional number of Ministers of State.

A number of names in circulation as sure shot inductees include Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, M Venkaiah Naidu, Ram Vilas Paswan and Sushma Swaraj but there is no official word either about any of them or about the patriarchs like L K Advani and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi.

(Posted on 23-05-2014)