As I explain there, the Finance Ministry is one that needs to be handled with care. Unlike other portfolios, not all politicians can be trusted to take care of finance. One misstep and the markets will react adversely within hours and the govt. will be in peril. If the FM is gonna change, you need a know actor to replace him.
That said I feel that Nirmala Sitaraman would have been more suitable for the Finance portfolio than Defense. Also as a know actor with a good track record in the Commerce ministry, she might have been better suited to it. Jaitley could have retained defense which he had been managing for sometime now.
Coming to whether this reshuffle will help the party win in 2019, well one can only speculate. This move does reassert the position Modi and Shah have in running business. That would help in negotiations come 2019.
In addition allies have not gained in this round which make the motive clear. The BJP is in a position to expect a majority of it’s own in 2019. Hence allies who accept the BP lead will see some gains. The Shiv Sena has long expected to control Maharastra even at the cost of hurting the BJP. Handing them a ministry would have sent the wrong message. Losing an ally like the Shiv Sena won’t hurt the party in the long run.
Coming to the JD(U), the reason they weren’t inducted is also quite clear. Post the UP victory, many regional parties look to join the NDA in hope of portfolios. This hurts the brand as it includes more variables to control come 2019. The JD(U) treatment is a signal to parties like the AIADMK that in 2019, the BJP treated as equals in their states if they hope to be a part of the government.
This reshuffle is the the BJP’s signal to all parties that they are in full throttle for 2019. Time to take off !!