Modi references dropped ministers in meeting with new Cabinet members
Newly sworn-in ministers of the Modi Cabinet | PC: Twitter

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday appreciated his former ministerial colleagues who were dropped after the Cabinet reshuffle Wednesday, saying they all contributed in the development work executed by his government and advised the newl Cabinet ministers to learn from their experience, sources said.

Interacting with members of the revamped Council of Ministers a day after the reshuffle, Modi said some leaders are now not part of the government due to certain situations and circumstances, in an apparent reference to Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar who resigned before the Cabinet rejig.

The sources said Modi appreciated Prasad and Javadekar for their work.

Other ministers who quit the government on Wednesday included Harsh Vardhan (health minister) and Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ (education minister).

The PM also expressed concern over the sight of crowded places with people not following COVID-19 norms, saying that there should be no space for carelessness or complacency and that a single mistake would have far-reaching impact and may weaken the fight against the pandemic.

This is not a pleasant sight and it should instil a “sense of fear in us”, he said, referring to pictures and videos of crowded places doing the rounds.

People are seen without wearing masks or following the social distancing norms, he said, according to the sources.

He stressed India’s fight against the pandemic is underway with full vigour with the vaccination programme going on steadily and testing numbers also consistently high.

“He added that in such a time, there should be no space for carelessness or complacency. A single mistake would have far-reaching impacts and weaken the fight to overcome COVID-19,” a source said.

“The PM said that with the Covid infection numbers being fewer than what they were in the recent months, people may want to venture out. However, everyone must remember that the threat of COVID-19 is far from over. Many other nations are seeing surges in infections. The virus is also mutating,” he added.

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Modi told the ministers that the aim should not be to instill fear but to request people to keep taking all possible precautions so that the nation is able to move beyond this pandemic in the times to come. In the meeting, he expressed concern at the persistently high number of Covid cases coming from Maharashtra and Kerala, the sources said.

He also asked his ministers to reach office on time and channelise all their energy into their ministerial work, saying their focus should be on helping the most deprived people.

In a word of advice, he said it is the work that only matters and the ministers should not get trapped in the vicious circle of grabbing media attention.

He said ministers should avoid making unnecessary statements.

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