Modi makes major cabinet changes for second term

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(New Delhi) – India´s Prime Minister Narendra Modi named his trusted aide Amit Shah to the key home affairs ministry as part of a major cabinet shakeup for his second term in office.

Nirmala Sitharaman moved from defence to become finance minister in a second shock, while career diplomat S. Jaishankar became foreign minister.

Hardline Hindu nationalist Shah was the president of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who masterminded Modi´s second straight landslide victory in the country´s national election.

Shah, 54, will now pursue Modi´s nationalist agenda in internal security, immigration and other key national issues.

A controversial figure, Shah was accused of ordering police to carry out three extrajudicial killings in his home state of Gujarat in 2005. He was banished from the western state for two years before being cleared in 2014 for lack of evidence.

Recently he hit the headlines after comparing illegal immigrants to “termites” that must be thrown out of the country.

But he has been a close confidante of Modi for nearly two decades and some analysts say Shah is now in place to take over the party if Modi stood down.