Minor star Lorcan Connors takes a ‘Selfie for Sam’ at Loreto Milford, ahead of Sunday’s clash with Kerry.Donegal has gone GAA GAA for Sam, the county is awash with colour and excitement ahead of the All-Ireland Senior and Minor finals against Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday.Above are a selection of fantastic snaps, portraying the excitement being felt all over the county ahead of Sunday’s double header with Kerry. Below is a poem sent into us by Roisin Kelly called On The Road, which captures the mood in Donegal at the moment.On The RoadWe’re all on the road to Dublin once againTo take Uncle Sam home after winning the game Along the way we met a lot of tricky boysWho talked and ranted all they made was noiseThe biggest and best thrill that we had to dateWas beating the Dubs at their own front gateThe thought they had us right from the very startBut then they discovered they weren’t so smart It wasn’t so easy getting two teams this farAnd it’s not over yet we have still Kerry to scarWith Declan and Jim’s boys really doing us so proudLet’s get behind them and shout out loud Let’s hope on Sunday when it’s all over and doneThe whole of Ireland knows Donegal is number oneUP DONEGALPICTURE SPECIAL – DONEGAL GOES GAA GAA FOR SAM was last modified: September 19th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:GAA GAAnewspicture specialSport
The virtual world and the real business world merged today when over150 people from local small and medium sized businesses gathered in Letterkenny for a Boost with Facebook event.Facebook experts and like-minded business owners were in town for the event to give one to one training and advice on how to use Facebook’s tools to grow their business. Entrepreneurs participated in breakout sessions and talks which provided training on how to build effective online advertising strategies, create engaging ads for mobile and find new customers on Instagram.Helen Smyth, Head of Ireland, Global Business Group, Facebook. Photo Clive Wasson]As highlighted in a recent Seanad Report on Small and Medium Sized Businesses in Ireland (published in May 2019), the SME sector is vibrant and diverse, accounting for 99% of active enterprises and 65% of all employment in Ireland – in excess of 1 million people nationwide and over 75,000 in the North West alone. This shows the huge importance of SMEs to regional economies. The same report notes, however, that SMEs have not yet fully embraced digital technologies with just 30% of SMBs selling products and services online. Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business Lisa Boyle, I Do WoW Weddings, and Helen Smyth, Head of Ireland, Global Business Group, Facebook and Caitlin Foley, Magee1866. Photo Clive WassonAt the event Helen Smyth, Head of Ireland, Global Business Group at Facebook highlighted the benefits of adopting digital technologies like Facebook and Instagram into businesses: “There are 46 million people around the world connected to a business in Ireland on Facebook. Through Facebook, small businesses now have access to affordable marketing tools to grow their business and strengthen their communities. Through events like this, we want to help businesses unlock the potential of the global market and understand how tools like international Lookalike Audiences and multi-city targeting can enable them to connect with new customers, grow awareness of their brand, drive new sales and see their business flourish.”Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny Local Enterprise Office Staff Eileen Kelly, Helen Smyth, Head of Ireland, Global Business Group, Facebook, Grace Korbel and Joanne Kilmartin. Photo Clive WassonDemonstrating how Donegal businesses can be successful online, panelists from Magee 1866 and I Do WoW Weddings shared their experiences and practical advice on how they have leveraged Facebook and its tools to grow their businesses on a local, national and international stage.Lisa Boyle, Business Owner at I Do WoW Weddings, told attendees how integral Facebook has been to the success of her business, “Facebook has provided me with a platform to reach new customers and to showcase my work. I set up the company in Donegal over 2 years ago, initially as a side venture. However, the business grew so quickly I left my role as a solicitor to focus on the business full time. I have always had a passion for creativity and was often told I had a talent for decorating. 90% of my client base is Facebook sourced and managed. With over 7,400 followers on Facebook and Instagram, my followers engage with me on a daily basis, by commenting, liking, sharing posts and leaving positive reviews. If it wasn’t for Facebook my business wouldn’t have grown the way it has.”Llocal business owner Boyd Robinson, Robinson Estate Agents, Michael Mac Ginty, MeanIt and Patrica Hill, Stateside Restaurant. Photo Clive Wasson]For businesses looking to attend future Boost with Facebook events, the next event is on the 6th of December at the Nuremore Hotel & Country Club in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. Registration for this event is open now – go to Facebook Ireland page for more information. See all the photos from the event here: Seamus McNulty, FPS Tech, Luke Hoffman, Champion Travel and Luke McGrory, Guest Diary.com Photo Clive WassonBrian Higgins, ABC School Supplies, Toni Forrester, CEO Letterkenny Chamber, Mark Bundschu, ABC Schools Supplies and Patrica Hill, Stateside Restaurant. Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business owner Louis Boyce, Begin Coding, Anna Campbell, Bogman Beanie and Michael MacGinty Mean IT. Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business Patrica Greene,, The Web Club and Sahron Hearty, Lough Derg.Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business owners. Photo Clive Wasson]Local business owner Lisa Boyle, I Do WoW Weddings, and Helen Smyth, Head of Ireland, Global Business Group, Facebook and Caitlin Foley, Magee1866. Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are Toni Forrester, CEO Letterkenny Chamber, Helen Smyth, Head of Ireland, Global Business Group, Facebook and Christine McGonigle, Women In Business Network. Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business owner Catherine Bond and Anne Marie McGee, Simming World.Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business owner Michael MacGinty, MeanIt and Boyd Robinson, Robinson Estate Agents Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business owner Amanda Clarke, Travel Donegal and Donon Harvey, Cathedrial Quarter. Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business Lisa Boyle, I Do WoW Weddings, and Helen Smyth, Head of Ireland, Global Business Group, Facebook and Caitlin Foley, Magee1866. Photo Clive Wasson]Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business owner John McPhilimey and Stephen McPhilmey, JMP Furniture. Photo Clive Wasson]Business owners log-on to Facebook event in Letterkenny – Picture Special was last modified: November 22nd, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:boost with facebook
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest 2016 Hay Tools Product Introductions Include Disc Mowers, Disc Mower Conditioners, Rakes and New Variances in Round BalersKubota Tractor Corporation continues to expand its hay offerings for a third consecutive year, solidifying the manufacturer’s position as a full-line hay and forage equipment provider. The expanded hay tools line brings to market new disc mowers, disc mower conditioners, rakes and new variances in its popular round baler line.The introduction of the new hay tools illustrates Kubota’s commitment to the agricultural market and positions the company as a full-line hay product supplier. “Our entrance into the hay market two years ago was deliberate with an all-in commitment from Kubota. The response we’ve received from our dealers, as well as customers, has been overwhelmingly positive as we continue to engineer equipment that provides agricultural market solutions,” said Dave Palmer, senior product manager of Kubota hay tools. “Kubota has built its business on its reputation for high-quality equipment, and our hay tool offerings are no exception. Kubota is committed to the agricultural market; this is our third year with significant product introductions in the segment, and you can count on this momentum continuing for years to come.”Hay Tools Heritage Meets Innovation and Continued QualityKubota completed a full-ownership acquisition of Kverneland Group in 2013, which helped make the first phase of Kubota hay implements possible, including disc mowers, a rotary rake and a tedder. In 2015, Kubota introduced round balers and disc mower conditioners as well as expanded offerings in the disc mower, rake and tedder lines.“We are starting 2016 strong, with an unwavering dedication to the agricultural market. Kubota founded its reputation for quality in the compact tractor segment, and we are taking the same approach with the hay segment. Quality and engineering are always our first priorities, as well as listening to customers who tell us what they need in terms of products and day-to-day solutions,” added Palmer.Two New Disc Mowers Move Kubota into Large Hay OperationsKubota’s two new disc mower introductions, the DM3087 and the DM4032, come equipped with Kubota’s fully-welded cutterbar. The DM3087 is a center-suspended disc mower that is an ideal combination of low weight and wide working width. At only 3,000 lbs., and large working width measuring 28 ft. 7 in. wide, the “butterfly” formation offers ideal weight distribution. In addition, the DM3087 allows farmers to effectively cut extensive areas with a minimum of 140 PTO horsepower (standard: 97/68/EC). The second mower introduction, the DM4032, distinguishes itself through its excellent cutting performance and its unique ability to adapt to a variety of terrain. Both mowers offer outstanding suspension: the DM3087 center suspension system ensures optimal tracking and precise ground contour following, while the DM4032 allows the operator to set the height of the tractor linkage and adjust ground pressure by tightening the suspension springs.New Disc Mower Conditioner Fills Gap and Completes Range of Kubota OfferingsRounding out the Kubota DMC8000 Series of trailed disc mower conditioners is the new DM8028R. The new DM8028R features full-width roller conditioning and Kubota’s 3-bladed cutterbar technology designed to allow the cutterbar and conditioning unit to float separately from the main chassis, creating an outstanding ability to follow a variety of terrain. Equipped with features such as a fully-welded, highly durable cutterbar; SemiSwing or chevron roller conditioners; independent active suspension; the series offers a machine to meet a variety of environmental conditions with exceptional performance.Continued Expansion of FarmLine RakesSmall but mighty, the new RA2072 is Kubota’s most compact double rotor center delivery rake, and is perfect for all operations and those in need of added flexibility. Operators can work comfortably in tight fields, producing consistent windrows with hydraulically-controlled working widths ranging between 20 ft. 4 in. and 23 ft. 7 in. Kubota’s FarmLine double rotor, center swath rakes are engineered for professional operations and serve as entry models into the twin rotor segment. These rakes feature oil-immersed cam discs, guide rollers and tine bearings, helping ensure longevity and easy maintenance. All rakes in the line offer curved tine arms, to ensure a regular and even swath formation.Round Baler Line Adds Three New Variances Featuring Net Binding SystemsAs a direct response to customer feedback, Kubota brings three new variances to its popular baler line in 2016. New offerings include the BV4160 and BV4180 PremNet models, and the BV5160 Net model. These new variances offer a net only binding system that ensures trouble-free and reliable operation while the efficient fork feeder makes quick work of silage, hay and straw for superb in-field performance. The BV4180 PremNet model is packed full of premium productivity with a bale diameter of 4 ft. wide by 6 ft. high with 79 in. pickup capacity. These balers precisely craft softer cores with stronger exteriors for better weathering. Operators can depend on the newly patented PowerBind net wrap system for trouble-free and reliable operation as well as the efficient fork feeder intake system for a faster, more efficient baling process. The PremNet models are compatible with all brands of nets and feature a direct injection system for a sure start every time.The BV5160 Net model features a bale size of 4 ft. wide by 5 ft. high with an 86 in. wide pickup capacity for fast and efficient pickup. An Intelligent Hay Density system allows the operator to pre-select between three different bale densities from inside the tractor cab. The 14-knife chopping system provides a fast and efficient flow in to the baler. With a chopping length of 2.75 in., it is the ideal solution for producing dense and airtight bales.For more product information, please visit the Kubota Hay Tools new product pages on www.kubota.com.
Dani Ravena is not having the best debut for a rookie so far in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament.ADVERTISEMENT AFP official booed out of forum Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises She rode the bench in Ateneo’s season opener, a five-set loss to Far Eastern University, and when she finally got the opportunity to play, she became the unfortunate goat as the Lady Eagles lost another five-setter.Ateneo dropped to 0-2 early in the season after a failed comeback bid against National University, 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 12-25, 15-7 Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRavena, who was the closing libero, was at the receiving end of the three straight service aces from Jasmine Nabor scored that ended the match.But Ravena plans to use these shortcomings as a way to get better. Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City View comments LATEST STORIES Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Alab holds off Mono for sixth straight win “Coach Tai [Bundit] told me to just stay confident, forget this game, and learn from the mistakes, that happened,” said Dani, the youngest siblings in the brood that has Kiefer as the eldest and Thirdy as the middle.Ravena, who is just one of the four liberos in Ateneo’s lineup for Season 80, admits she got nervous when Nabor started scoring from the service line.“Maybe I got nervous there, but that was a learning experience,” said Ravena, who had 10 excellent receptions.“I did my best but I think we just really came up short, but we promise to make up for it in the next game,” said Ravena in Filipino.ADVERTISEMENT
Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations Urgent reply from Philippine football chief Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pistons: G Wayne Ellington had nine points on three 3-pointers in his first start since signing with the Pistons on Feb. 9. Ellington averaged 8.4 points with Miami this season before he was traded to Phoenix and then waived. Luke Kennard moved to the bench.Hawks: G Kent Bazemore had 12 points as the fill-in starter for rookie Kevin Huerter (left ankle sprain). Huerter is not expected to play in Saturday night’s game against Phoenix. … Young leads all Eastern Conference rookies with 19 double-doubles.DRUMMOND’S DOUBLE-DOUBLESDrummond recorded his fifth straight game with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. He leads the NBA with 20 games with 20 or more points and rebounds.PLAYOFF PUSHThe Pistons, who have won five of six, are eighth in the Eastern Conference’s eight-team playoff standings, one-half game behind Charlotte. Casey said before the game, “Our playoff push begins tonight.”UP NEXT:Pistons: At Miami on Saturday night.Hawks: The Suns will take a 16-game losing streak into Saturday night’s game and have won only four of 31 road games. Thon Maker sank a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds remaining and the Pistons overcame Griffin’s absence to beat the Atlanta Hawks 125-122 on Friday night.Reggie Jackson scored a season-high 32 points, Andre Drummond had 26 points and 21 rebounds, but the Pistons struggled to overcome Griffin’s third-quarter exit following his second technical foul of the period.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption charges“The tape pretty much speaks for itself,” Griffin said. “I shouldn’t have been back here (in the locker room), but it was an unbelievable job from our guys.”Griffin drew his first technical following a brief battle for the ball with Dewayne Dedmon. After hitting a 3-pointer less than a minute later, Griffin yelled at the Hawks bench and drew the technical for taunting with 4:19 remaining in the period. With the second technical, the ejection was automatic — much to the dismay of Griffin and coach Dwane Casey. LATEST STORIES MOST READ PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Nikola Jokic helps Nuggets beat Mavs as Luka Doncic out with sore ankle US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants View comments SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker (7) looks on after hitting a winning three-point basket as teammates celebrate during the final seconds of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)ATLANTA — The Detroit Pistons were upset to see Blake Griffin ejected — especially when they believed their best player didn’t deserve the punishment.Even so, the Pistons answered their coach’s call to add fuel to their playoff push.ADVERTISEMENT ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Griffin scored 15 points, ending a streak of four straight games with at least 25.Drummond made two free throws to tie it at 122 with 43 seconds remaining. Trae Young, who led Atlanta with 30 points and 10 assists, missed on a short floater.The 7-foot-1 Maker, playing in only his fourth game with Detroit following his Feb. 6 trade from Milwaukee, sank the go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner.“It means a lot, but we shouldn’t have to dig ourselves out of a hole like that,” Maker said.Young and Vince Carter each missed 3-pointers on Atlanta’s final possession.Detroit led 88-77 when Griffin left the game. The Hawks immediately began to cut into the lead, pulling ahead 101-100 on Carter’s 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter. Bruce Brown’s three-point play gave the lead back to the Pistons.The Hawks have lost five of six but seemed energized in their return from the All-Star break. Atlanta took a big first-half lead of 14 points at 59-45 with a 12-0 run. Young scored on an explosive drive; set up Dedmon’s jam with a behind-the-back, through-the-legs dribble ; and sank a 3-pointer to cap the run.Jackson had 15 second-quarter points — matching Young — as Detroit cut the Atlanta lead to 70-68 at halftime. The Pistons took the lead early on the second half on two free throws by Jackson.Dedmon had 14 points and 12 rebounds.TIP-INS Casey said each technical was “questionable” and said “I’ve never seen that in my coaching career.”Hawks forward Vince Carter said he was too far down the court to hear what Griffin yelled.“I don’t know what he said, but he was barking and directed it at coach,” Carter said.Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said he wasn’t upset even if Griffin’s taunt was directed his way.“I don’t know what he said, but it was aggressive and it was in front of the official and it was toward our bench, maybe toward me,” Pierce said. “Guys do it all the time. I don’t take it personally. … It’s just the technicality of it, you can’t taunt a bench when you have a tech already.”ADVERTISEMENT
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — David Wise considers himself a dad and husband first, a freestyle skier second. That might be why he also became an Olympic champion.Soaring through sloppy snow and sleet, Wise won the first gold medal in the young sport of halfpipe skiing on Feb. 18, outclassing a field in Sochi that had trouble with the slow, waterlogged conditions.Sightlines were less than perfect on the first true soaker of a night at the action-sports venue, but not so bad that Wise couldn’t look down from the top and see his wife, Lexi, and the rest of his family members cheering at the base of the halfpipe.Many of them were holding big pop-out pictures of his 2-year-old daughter, Nayeli, stapled to wooden sticks.“To see that face looking back up at me was cool,” Wise said.After placing a heart-shaped rock Lexi gave him into one pocket, the 23-year-old from Reno, Nev., dropped into the halfpipe and scored a 92 — a mark that held up to beat Canada’s Mike Riddle by 1.4 points.Kevin Rolland of France took bronze.That podium pretty much went to form, a fact not lost on Wise or any of the others, who have watched expected results in other action sports at these games get shuffled — partly because of conditions and maybe because of pressure. Shaun White never got comfortable with the tough halfpipe a week ago and finished fourth. Kelly Clark struggled and ended up with bronze, not gold.“I’ve been watching a lot of favorites lose this Olympics … seeing how much pressure it can be and how you have to perform, regardless of the conditions or how you’re feeling that day,” Wise said. “It’s kind of sobering, to say the least.”He had a couple new tricks he wanted to bust out for the Olympics, but because of the conditions, those will have to wait.Instead, he went with his most dependable jumps: 2½ spins; two flips with 3½ spins; back-to-back 720-degree spins; then another two-flip, 1260-degree move. Some went 14-15 feet above the halfpipe. Most had fancy grabs of the skis that the judges love. All had rock-solid landings that win gold medals.“Dave is, right now, on top of the sport,” said his 17-year-old American teammate, Aaron Blunck. “He’s the best. He’s proven it multiple times. He comes out in any condition and has amazing fun. He’s the dad out of the group. So, no matter what he does, we’re proud of him”Wise is the winner of three straight Winter X Games titles, which, until now, were the biggest prizes in his trophy case.All these major victories have come since he got married and became a dad. He’s a family man — the regular dude in a counter-culture sport — and he’s sure he wouldn’t be this good if it were different.“I can go and ski my heart out, but that doesn’t necessarily define who I am,” he said. “Being a good husband and father is more important. I can have passion with both things and it provides balance.”Riddle’s silver continued a sparkling stretch of freestyle skiing for Canada. Including the 1-2 moguls finish by the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, a 1-2 finish in men’s moguls and some other strong results, the Canadians have won seven medals in the action sports, three of them gold.This one means a little more, given that it came in the sport the late Sarah Burke of Canada pushed hardest to include in the Olympics. Burke was the freeskiing star who died two years ago after a training accident in the halfpipe.“Without Sarah, I don’t think ski halfpipe or slopestyle would be anywhere near what it is right now,” Riddle said. “It wouldn’t be in the Olympics. She had a massive impact and she’s been on my mind a lot this week.”Though the weather prevented the show from being the best the skiers have ever put on, certainly Burke would’ve appreciated the effort — and all those smiles.“The whole thing is to just go out there and try to have some fun,” said Blunck, who finished seventh.Wise had the most fun. He brought America’s medal total at the Sochi Games to 20 overall, with six golds. Eleven of the medals and five of those golds have come from the action sports, where Wise considers himself a role model.“I just want people to be excited about freeskiing,” he said. Soon, he’ll collect that gold medal and bring it home to Reno, where Nayeli stayed back with her grandma and watched her dad on TV.The new champion understands, of course, that the medal belongs to a great, big family. “You represent everyone who believed in you along the way — teachers, trainers, coaches, sponsors,” he said. “Everyone who thought you had a chance of being great at something is in that halfpipe with you.”(EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
It’s often said in BJP circles that when it comes to pulling surprises, none can match Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his virtual second-in-command, home minister Amit Shah. Strategising in complete secrecy, both are known to keeping people around them guessing about their move. If Yogi Adityanath’s selection as Uttar Pradesh chief minister in 2017 foxed political analysts, Modi’s decision to pick Nirmala Sitharaman as India’s first woman defence minister was a masterstroke that drew great public traction. Now, in his second innings in office, the prime minister’s choices for his new cabinet have caused shock and awe-and how.Take the finance ministry’s case for instance. That Piyush Goyal, who had handled the portfolio in Arun Jaitley’s absence on medical grounds in the previous government, would not be considered for the post raised eyebrows. Though Sitharaman’s selection as finance minister surprised many, she was apparently rewarded for her diligence and ability to conform to Modi and Shah’s thinking in matters of governance. Also surprising to many was the move to drop Maneka Gandhi and Rajyavardhan Rathore, who held the key ministries of information & broadcasting (I&B) and sports in the previous government. That Goyal would stand 17th in the queue at the swearing-in ceremony on May 30 and Dharmendra Pradhan, who is credited with implementing the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, even after was as much baffling. Nitin Gadkari being deprived of shipping and Ganga rejuvenation, which has been merged in the new jal shakti ministry, despite a very good performance, was puzzling too. The general impression is that Gadkari, Goyal and Pradhan did a good job of the tasks given to them.advertisementTHE JAITLEY STAMPThough former finance minister Jaitley’s absence has left a vacuum in the Union cabinet, his imprint on the composition of the team is unmistakable-particularly Sitharaman, one of his favourites, as the finance minister. Though Goyal was ‘compensated’ with the commerce and industry portfolio, apart from railways, it is widely believed in BJP circles that he was denied finance because of his disagreements with Jaitley on crucial policy matters while he was the interim finance minister.Among Jaitley’s other picks are junior minister for finance and corporate affairs Anurag Singh Thakur, his former colleague from the cricketing world, and Som Parkash and Hardeep Singh Puri, the two ministers of state (MoS) for commerce and industry. Angadi Suresh Channabasappa, MoS railways, too, is considered to be close to Jaitley.While the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) considered Prakash Javadekar a slow mover in his previous stint as HRD minister, especially over the revamp of the school curricula, the BJP leader enjoyed the backing of Modi and Shah. As the election in-charge for Rajasthan and later Karnataka, Javadekar had endeared himself to Modi and Shah with his skilful handling of party factionalism in these states. He was rewarded with the environment and forest portfolio and additionally I&B.THE WINNERS AND LOSERSNarendra Singh Tomar and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat were rewarded for their performances in the previous government and contributions in the BJP. Tomar not only retained rural development, but also got charge of the crucial ministry of agriculture. Shekhawat, who was promoted to cabinet rank, was given the jal shakti ministry where he has the opportunity to implement Modi’s plan of supplying piped water to every Indian household by 2024.Jayant Sinha apparently paid the price for father Yashwant Sinha’s continuing hostility towards Modi-Shah while Maneka lost out owing to her somewhat mediocre performance in the women and child development ministry as well as her alleged utterances against the PM and the BJP president. Her son Varun Gandhi ran an almost open campaign against Modi and Shah on social media, but turned into their supporter when they didn’t deny him a Lok Sabha ticket. That, however, did not prevent the axe from falling on Maneka.Staunch Modi loyalist Giriraj Singh got an upgrade to full cabinet rank from MoS and was given charge of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries, which covers his pet theme of cow protection. But the choice of S. Jaishankar for external affairs, it is learnt, did not go down well with some quarters in the ministry as well as the RSS, the view being that he is too pro-US. But Modi thought Jaishankar was a necessity in view of India’s deteriorating relationship with the US and the balancing act that New Delhi requires to do between the US, China and Russia. Former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj was conveyed that in her current health condition, it was better for her to drop out. Jaitley’s voluntary withdrawal gave thrust to the argument and Swaraj took it in her stride.advertisementPMO’S TAKEWhile the jury’s out on the cabinet appointments, sources close to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) describe them as professional decisions. A source says Gadkari was given the problematic Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) portfolio so that the sector can be energised. “We see Gadkari as a problem solver,” the source said.Regarding Goyal and Pradhan, the PMO is of the view that both have been rewarded-Goyal with commerce and Pradhan with steel, which has major presence in his state of Odisha. Gadkari’s former MoS in shipping, Mansukh L. Mandaviya, was promoted with independent charge of the ministry because he not only helped in the BJP’s clean sweep of Gujarat in the Lok Sabha election, but was also instrumental in pulling Patels out of the support base of Patidar pro-reservation leader Hardik Patel in Saurashtra.THE AXE EFFECTAccording to PMO sources, among the reasons that Radha Mohan Singh was dropped as Agriculture Minister, was because of complaints that his ministry had allegedly favoured a private company, the Hyderabad-based Nagarjuna Agro Chemicals (NAC), in the sale of soil testing kits (STKs) required for assessment of soil and issuing of soil health cards to some 140 million farmers across the country. Both Singh and the NAC, however, had strongly denied the allegations.READ | Goodbye, Rahul Gandhi?ALSO READ | Mumbai Floods: How BMC and Co. sank the city againALSO WATCH | PM Modi launches BJP’s membership drive in Varanasi