Today evening, a much-anticipated union cabinet reshuffle, the first in Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi's second term in power, brought in big changes.
The reshuffle, regularly postponed since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, finally took place with an eye on political and administrative challenges as well as the upcoming elections.
As many as 43 leaders from BJP and other parties in NDA are all set to be sworn in either as ministers or ministers of state (MoS) in the union cabinet.
Among prominent names who are to be inducted into the union cabinet are Jyotiraditya Scindia, Narayan Rane, Sarbananda Sonowal, RCP Singh (JDU), Anupriya Patel (Apna Dal), and Pashupati Kumar Paras (LJP).
The ceremony was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Here is all you need to know about 15 cabinet ministers who took oath today.
Jyotiraditya M Scindia, a Rajya Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh, who last year left the Congress party and joined BJP. Fifty-year-old Scindia comes from a royal lineage. Media reports are predicting that he might head the railway ministry, as his father did.
He began his political career in the Congress party after his father Madhavrao Scindia’s untimely death in 2001. A graduate from Stanford and Harvard, Scindia is praised as suave, highly educated, untainted and with a clear understanding of issues and a deep connection to the grassroots.
Pashupati Kumar Paras, brother of late Ram Vilas Paswan, from Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is the Lok Sabha MP for Hajipur in Bihar. He was also sworn in as a member of the union cabinet. In a party coup last month, Chirag Paswan was removed as LJP President by some rebel MPs, including Paras. In retaliation, Paswan expelled his uncle calling it a betrayal of the family. In the past Paras has also served as a minister in Nitish Kumar's government in the state.
Narayan Tatu Rane from BJP is a Rajya Sabha MP for Maharashtra. In the past, he served his state as the chief minister, as well as the cabinet minister handling important portfolios in the cabinets of Vilasrao Deshmukh, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan in Maharashtra. In his long political career, Rane was associated with the Shiv Sena, then Indian National Congress, and then BJP.
He is known for his staunch anti-Uddhav Thackeray and anti-Shiv Sena stance. He hails from the Konkan area of Maharashtra which is the stronghold of Shiv Sena.
Sarbananda Sonowal, a BJP leader and former chief minister of Assam, was also sworn in as a cabinet member by the President today. Sonowal was President of the All-Assam Student Union between 1992 and 1999. He then left the body to begin his political career by joining the Asom Gana Parishad. He also previously served as the Union Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of India, from 2014 to 2016.
Anupriya Patel, the national president of Apna Dal (Sonelal), was also inducted into the new council of ministers. She is one of the seven women to take oath today. An MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur, Patel’s party is in alliance with BJP. She had previously served as Minister of State for Health during the first term of the NDA government.
Apna Dal claims to enjoy the support of Kurmis as well as non-Yadav OBC groups such as Kushwaha, Maurya, Nishad, Pal and Saini in UP which is due for assembly elections next year.
RCP Singh of the JD(U) was also sworn in as a member of the union council of ministers. Singh, a close aide of party president Nitish Kumar, was in the news last year after the Munger shooting incident. His daughter Lipi Singh, an IPS officer, was SP, Munger at the time. In the police shooting at Durga Pooja visarajan procession, an 18-year-old boy Anurag Poddar lost his life.
Dr Virendra Kumar, a Lok Sabha MP (BJP) for Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, is currently serving his seventh term as MP, making him one of our senior-most Parliamentarians. Virendra Kumar Khatik, in his younger days, was part of the JP movement and was jailed for 16 months for protesting against the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi.
He was a member of the RSS as well as the convener of Bajrang Dal in Sagar district and was associated with management and functioning of a gaushala and Gau Seva Sangh Sanstha in Sagar. Reportedly, he has worked to remove caste discrimination, founded orphanages and old-age homes.
Ashwani Vaishnaw, a Rajya Sabha MP (BJP) for Odisha, is a former IAS officer. He handled important responsibilities over 15 years and was particularly known for his contribution to the PPP framework in Infrastructure.
An MBA from Wharton School, Pennysylvania University and MTech from IIT Kanpur, he has also held leadership roles across major global companies such as General Electric and Siemens. Well known for his good work, he had also served Atal Bihari Vajpayee when the latter was PM.
Rajkumar Ranjan Singh is a Lok Sabha MP (BJP) for Inner Manipur, serving his first term as MP. Before this, he had a four-decade long career as a Geography professor, and also served as Director of College Development Council in Manipur University.
Singh has served as the chairman of the BJP’s body on the state vision document, party spokesperson, BJP coordinator to the Election Commission and has also been a part of the office modernisation committee.
Bhupender Yadav is a Rajya Sabha MP (BJP) from Rajasthan, serving his second term, and also the general secretary of BJP. An excellent election strategist, Yadav has been behind major BJP victories like the assembly elections of Rajasthan (2013), Gujarat (2017) and Uttar Pradesh (2017).
Yadav is known to serve in a lot of parliamentary committees, which has earned him the reputation of being ‘the committee man’. In 2015, he was the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. In addition, he is the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019.
He has also been the chairman of Select Committee of Rajya Sabha on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill (from 2015-2016) and is currently the chairman of Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.
Among the ministers that are set to be promoted based on their good performance are Kiren Rijiju, Anurag Thakur, G Kishan Reddy, Hardeep Singh Puri, Mansukh Mandaviya, and Purshottam Rupala.
Kiren Rijiju has served the Minister of State for Sports and Hardeep Puri as the in charge of aviation. Anurag Thakur, an MP from Himachal Pradesh, has been the Minister of State for Finance and Reddy the junior minister for Home Affairs.
Purshottam Rupala has served as the Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Agriculture and Farmers' welfare, while Mandaviya, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, as the Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Union Minister of State for Chemical and Fertilizers.
Yesterday (6 July), the Rashtrapati Bhavan announced a slew of appointments, including that of Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot as the Governor of Karnataka, replacing Vajubhai Vala.
Gehlot’s exit from the Council of Ministers also means that the BJP will have to look for another Leader of the House for the Rajya Sabha, and another member for the party’s parliamentary board, its highest decision-making body.
Former MP and former BJP president of the erstwhile combined State of Andhra Pradesh K Hari Babu was appointed the Governor of Mizoram. Senior BJP leader and former Tribal Affairs Minister in Gujarat Mangubhai Patel was named the Governor of Madhya Pradesh. Former Speaker of the Goa Assembly Rajendra Arlekar will be the Governor of Himachal Pradesh.
Several Governors saw a change in States. Former Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has been transferred from Himachal Pradesh to Haryana, senior BJP leader from Chhattisgarh Ramesh Bais from Tripura to Jharkhand, Satyadev Arya from Haryana to Tripura, and BJP leader from Kerala PS Sreedharan Pillai from Mizoram to Goa.
The government has also decided to create a separate ‘Ministry of Cooperation’ with the aim of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’ (prosperity through cooperatives).
The Ministry will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country. It will work to streamline the processes for ease of doing business for cooperatives and enable development of multi-State cooperative societies.
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