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Modi Cabinet 2.0: Scindia gets Civil Aviation, Mandaviya is Health Minister, Pradhan gets Education, Vaishnaw to handle Railways

·13-min read

New Delhi, July 7: As many as 43 BJP, NDA leaders were sworn-in into the Modi 2.0 Cabinet on Wednesday.

The ceremony was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Among the prominent names who were inducted into the Council of Ministers are - Jyotiraditya Scindia, Narayan Rane, Sarbananda Sonowal, RCP Singh (JDU), Anupriya Patel (Apna Dal), and Pashupati Kumar Paras (LJP).

Ministers and portfolios: Who gets what

New portfolios are being allocated to ministers who were inducted into the Union Cabinet and Council of Ministers on Wednesday.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also remain in-charge of:

    • Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions

    • Department of Atomic Energy

    • Department of Space

    • All important policy issues, and

    • All other portfolios not allocated to any minister

  • Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been given charge of the newly-created Ministry of Co-operation. He will also handle the charge of the ministries of Culture and Tourism and Development of North East.

  • Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways

  • Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs

  • S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs

  • Mansukh Mandaviya has been given charge of the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers.

  • Dharmendra Pradhan will take charge as Minister for Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

  • Aswhini Vaishnaw is now Union Minister for Information Technology (IT) and Railways.

  • Union Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal is being given additional charge of the Ministry of Textiles. He also holds additional charge of the ministries of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution.

  • Hardeep Singh Puri has been given charge of the ministries of Urban Housing and Petroleum.

  • Smriti Irani will be the minister in charge of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD). She will be assisted by MoS Dr Munjapara Mahendrabhai.

  • Kiren Rijiju is the new Union Minister of Law and Justice.

  • Jyotiraditya Scindia has been made Minister of Civil Aviation, a ministry that his father Madhavrao Scindia too once handled.

  • Anurag Thakur has been given charge of Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, along with Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

  • Sarbananda Sonowal gets charge of the ministries of North East Development and Shipping and Waterways, and ministry of AYUSH.

  • Purushottam Rupala is MoS for Dairy & Fisheries

  • Pashupati Paras is now Minister for Food Processing.

  • Giriraj Singh will take charge of the Ministry of Rural Development.

  • Bhupender Yadav has been given charge of the Labour Ministry and Ministry of Environment and Forests.

  • Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs

  • G Kishan Reddy will handle the Culture, Tourism and Development of the North Eastern Region portfolios.

THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

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Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Narayan Rane, Sarbananda Sonowal, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kiren Rijiju, Anurag Thakur, Raj Kumar Singh, RP Singh, Ashwini Vasihnaw, Dr Virendra Kumar, Pashupati Kumar Paras, Rajiv Chandrasekhar, Shobha Karandlaje Meenakshi Lekhi were amongst the 43 leaders to take oath today evening at the Rashtrapati Bhavan as part of the huge Cabinet expansion of the Narendra Modi-led government.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Mansukh Mandaviya and Bhupender Yadav also took oath.

Ahead of the reshuffle, as many as 12 ministers tendered their resignations. These included Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Babul Supriyo, Sadanand Gowda, Santosh Gangwar, Debasree Chaudhuri, Pratap Sarangi, RL Kataria, Raosaheb Patil Danve, Ashwini Choubey and Sanjay Dhotre.

Full list of the new faces in Modi govt

CABINET MINISTERS

  1. Shri Narayan Tatu Rane

  2. Shri Sarbananda Sonowal

  3. Dr. Virendra Kumar

  4. Shri Jyotiraditya M Scindia

  5. Shri Ramchandra Prasad Sing

  6. Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw

  7. Shri Pashu Pati Kumar Paras

  8. Shri Kiren Rijiju

  9. Shri Raj Kumar Singh

  10. Shri Hardeep Singh Puri

  11. Shri Mansukh Mandaviya

  12. Shri Bhupender Yadav

  13. Shri Parshottam Rupala

  14. Shri G. Kishan Reddy

  15. Shri Anurag Singh Thakur

MINISTERS OF STATE

  1. Shri Pankaj Choudhary

  2. Smt. Anupriya Singh Patel

  3. Dr. Satya Pal Singh Baghel

  4. Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar

  5. Sushri Shobha Karandlaje

  6. Shri Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma

  7. Smt. Darshana Vikram Jardosh

  8. 8. Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi

  9. Smt. Annpurna Devi

  10. Shri A. Narayanaswamy

  11. Shri Kaushal Kishore

  12. Shri Ajay Bhatt

  13. Shri B. L. Verma

  14. Shri Ajay Kumar

  15. Shri Chauhan Devusinh

  16. Shri Bhagwanth Khuba

  17. Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil

  18. Sushri Pratima Bhoumik

  19. Dr. Subhas Sarkar

  20. Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad

  21. Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh

  22. Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar

  23. Shri Bishweswar Tudu

  24. Shri Shantanu Thakur

  25. Dr. Munjapara Mahendrabhai

  26. Shri John Barla

  27. Dr. L. Murugan

  28. Shri Nisith Pramanik

The expansion sees the entry of many new faces into the Modi government, with the BJP expected to give coalition partners more room in the Council of Ministers. The reshuffle comes in the wake of the devastating second Covid wave that has set off widespread criticism of the government for mismanagement of the crisis.

The new Cabinet, reports had earlier said, will have a special focus on the representation of women and ‘soshit, pidit, vanchhit and adivasi’ (underprivileged and tribal communities), sources told CNN-News18.

This will be the ‘youngest-ever’ Cabinet, with a record representation of OBCs, SCs and STs and more women picks.

Sources said that the new Cabinet is likely to see names such as Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sarbananda Sonowal, Narayan Rane and Pashupati Nath Paras, among others.

There will be 12 ministers from Scheduled Castes, 8 from Scheduled Tribes & 27 from Other Backward Classes (Yadav, Kurmi, Darji, Jat Gujjar, Khandayat, Bhandari, Bairagi, Thakur, Koli Vokkaliga, Tulu Gowda, Mallah) and 5 minorities (1 Muslim, 1 Sikh, 1 Christian, 2 Buddhists).

The new council is expected to have more representation of women: BJP vice president Sobha Karandlaje, MP from Beed in Maharashtra Pritam Munde and MP from Maharashtra’s Nandurbar Heena Gavit were also seen entering the PM’s residence.

The ministers who were present at the prime minister’s residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, include: Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sarbananda Sonowal, Bhupender Yadav, Anurag Thakur, Meenakshi Lekhi, Anupriya Patel, Ajay Bhatt, Shobha Karandjale, Sunita Dugga, Pritam Munde, Santanu Thakur, Narayan Rane, Kapil Patil, Pashupati Nath Paras, RCP Singh, G Krishan Reddy, Parshottam Rupala, Ashwini Vaishnav, and Vijay Sonkar.

News18 sources added that the government’s plan is to provide representation to even the smallest communities, with focus on each state and their relevant regions and special attention will be given to include who have administrative experience, either in the state or Centre.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with top ministers as well as the BJP chief at his residence at 5 pm on Tuesday — amid growing buzz of a Cabinet reshuffle later in the week — was cancelled earlier.

Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP chief JP Nadda and party national general secretary BL Santhosh were expected to attend the meeting, among others.

In a series of interactions held in the first fortnight of June, Prime Minister Modi was said to be focusing on the performance of the ministries given the massive challenge of COVID-19 that has wreaked havoc across the country in its second wave. The meetings have lasted anywhere between three to five hours with both cabinet as well as ministers of state being asked to attend the same.

On June 5, Modi spoke to morcha chiefs of the BJP, including those of farmers, youth, SC/ST and women. A day later, he met party general secretaries.

Ever since the Modi government came to power in May 2019, there has been no expansion in the Union Cabinet despite some ministers chairing as many as three Cabinet portfolios whereas some ministries do not have an MoS. With the withdrawal of Akali Dal from the NDA, the Modi government currently has ministers only from the BJP.

Political pundits have also indicated that the JD(U), a key ally of the BJP in Bihar, would like to be represented in the ministry.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, who joined the BJP in March 2019, is still waiting to be given a ministerial berth after having delivered the results in Madhya Pradesh. Sarbananda Sonowal who was replaced by Himanta Biswa Sarma as Assam Chief Minister, is also likely to be accommodated in the cabinet as would former deputy chief minister of Bihar Sushil Modi.

What could the new Cabinet look like?

Multiple sources told PTI that the reshuffle is likely to take place on Wednesday evening. But there has been no official word on it.

Yet, BJP leaders Sarbananda Sonowal, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Shobha Karandlaje, and Narayan Rane, all of whom are being seen as probables for induction as ministers in the Modi government, had arrived in the national capital on Tuesday.

Names of Bhupender Yadav, Anil Baluni, Sudhanshu Trivedi are also doing the rounds while BJP MPs Sushil Modi, Ashwini Vaishnav and GVL Narasimha Rao are also being mentioned as probables.

BJP general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh met party president JP Nadda in the evening. Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje also met Santhosh.

JD(U) leader RCP Singh and LJP's Pashupati Kumar Paras, both of whom are expected to represent the BJP's allies in the government, also reached New Delhi from Bihar. All of them remained tight-lipped to queries about their possibility of joining the government.

Rane told reporters that he had not received any call about his joining the government.

Leaders of the LJP faction headed by Paras said he had received a call from Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday but claimed that it was related to the birth anniversary of party founder Ram Vilas Paswan.

Representation of BJP MPs from West Bengal and the North East may go up.

Another BJP ally All India Jharkhand Students Union may also get a berth, reports said as the BJP looks to boost its partners' representation in the ministry after its old allies like Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal severed their ties with it.

Ramadas Athavale, a junior minister, is the only BJP ally in the government as of now.

The current strength of the Council of Ministers is 53, including Modi, and its maximum number can be 81.

What's with the timing?

The exercise comes against the backdrop of a massive review, which has stretched for weeks, undertaken by the BJP top brass of the works of Union ministers and the organisation against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Performance factor

A BJP leader told PTI that the reshuffle is expected to be a ‘big shake-up’ with Modi addressing political challenges, including electoral politics, general performance, organisational work done by members, and governance issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic that has been a factor in the internal evaluation of the party's governance and source of much criticism for the Centre and the state governments may have created the need to bring in fresh faces to spur a narrative change and to boost performance.

Assembly Polls

The shake-up becomes relevant especially in the backdrop of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab due early next year.

Sources also said the expansion will try to accommodate representatives from as many states as possible as well as sub-regions in large states such as Purvanchal and Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh, and the Konkan and western regions in Maharashtra. The reshuffle will also aim to strike a social balance making sure key communities that contribute to BJP's vote bank are well-represented, with sources saying special emphasis will be on OBC and Dalit communities.

Vacancies

Furthermore, the expansion was also a long-awaited exercise, in view of the recent posts getting vacated on various accounts.

LJP leader and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who was the Cabinet Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, passed away in October 2020. Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi also passed away in September last year, which created another vacancy in the number of ministers of states as well.

Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena), and Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal) were also representatives of NDA allies in the Union Cabinet when the Modi 2.0 government returned to power in 2019 but all of them resigned following differences with the BJP.

That and the government's decision to create a new Ministry of Cooperation with an aim to strengthen the cooperative movement in the country, has warranted fresh recruitments in the Council of ministers.

Apart from reshuffle and appointment of new faces to vacant Cabinet seats, a minister in charge of the new portfolio may be named on Wednesday.

The ministry will work to streamline processes for 'ease of doing business' for cooperatives and enable the development of multi-state cooperatives (MSCS), it said. The creation of a separate Ministry for Cooperation also fulfils the budget announcement made by the finance minister.

What do the precedents suggest?

The reshuffles undertaken by Modi so far, all in his first term, have also seen some ministers being dropped or removed from key portfolios on account of their performance.

The prime minister has also sprung surprises in the past by inducting those with apolitical backgrounds, like S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, as ministers.

The prime minister may go for new faces with an eye on grooming younger leaders while also factoring in caste and regional balances. There is also a buzz about Modi inducting some professionals and those with domain expertise besides bringing in more women.

A party source said it is likely to be a "big shakeup" and members of the party organisation may be brought in the government.

With Gehlot set to quit as an MP after becoming governor, his departure will also leave the key post of the leader of the House in Rajya Sabha vacant. It will leave one more position vacant in the BJP's Parliamentary Board, the party's apex body, where he is the only Dalit leader.

The pointers

Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot's appointment as Karnataka governor too fuelled speculations that a Cabinet reshuffle/ expansion is on the cards.

The speculations were further fueled by meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Jagat Prakash Nadda on Tuesday. There was also some movement in state units of the party, with several notable leaders reportedly having left for Delhi in a rush.

Furthermore, the cancellation of a scheduled Cabinet meet and the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also strengthened speculations that the BJP top brass could announce a final decision by evening.

News agency PTI also reported on the developments, noting that the first Cabinet reshuffle in Modi's second term would be made to make the Council of Ministers more representative.

Incidentally, top RSS brass, including its chief Mohan Bhagwat and joint general secretaries Krishna Gopal and Manmohan Vaidya, was also in the city for the last few days. The BJP has often factored in the feedback from the RSS in its key decisions.

Inputs: News18, FirstPost, PTI, ANI

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