Eclectic mix in Modi’s new Cabinet

modiNEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office to 21 Ministers, including four Cabinet Ministers, three Ministers of State (Independent Charge) and 14 Ministers of State yesterday afternoon.

The Cabinet Ministers sworn in include former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu, Haryana leader Birendra Singh and BJP General Secretary J.P. Nadda.

Prabhu, a Shiv Sainik, joined the BJP after he was sworn in.

The new inductees are an eclectic mix. Parrikar and Jayant Sinha graduated from the Indian Institutes of Technology. Sinha, who also studied at Harvard, has more than a decade’s experience at management consulting giant McKinsey and Company. Newly inducted Minister of State Hansraj Ahir was one of the people who exposed the coal block allocation scam.

Besides Prabhu, the new Ministers of State Bandaru Dattatreya, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy have held portfolios in the Vajpayee government in the late 90s.

Rajyavardhan Rathore, who is now a Minister of State, is an Olympian and an army veteran. He represents Jaipur Rural in the Lok Sabha. 43-year old singer, and MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo is the youngest inductee.

The two Dalit faces of this expansion are Agra MP Ramshankar Katheria and Hoshiarpur MP Vijay Sampla.

Three new ministers, including Prabhu, have recently crossed over to the BJP from other parties.

The other two are Ram Kripal Yadav, formerly of the RJD and former Congress MP Birender Singh. Yadav had defeated Former Bihar CM and Rail Minister Lalu Yadav’s daughter Misa Bharati in Pataliputra.

Birender Singh and Sanwar Lal Jat are the prominent Jat faces in the expansion. Jat defeated Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot from Ajmer in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year.

This takes the strength of the Union Council of Ministers to 66. It is also the first expansion of the Union Council of Ministers since the Modi government took office on May 26.

Controversial names on the list include Bihar MP Giriraj Singh and Himachal Pradesh MP J.P. Nadda. Singh had commented during the Lok Sabha campaign that those who oppose Modi must go to Pakistan.

Nadda requested for the removal of All India Institute of Medical Sciences Delhi Chief Vigilance Officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi who cracked down against corruption. – Excerpt from The Hindu

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