You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Cabinet reshuffle: PM Modi’s new ministers and their roles

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-09-2017 Livemint

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s induction of nine ministers and the promotion of four others to the cabinet rank on Sunday is being seen as his focus not only on governance but also to ensure that the BJP’s political considerations are taken care of.

Among the nine new ministers, three are Brahmins—Shiv Pratap Shukla, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Anant Kumar Hegde, two Rajputs, R K Singh and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, one Jat (OBC) in Satyapal Singh and Virendra Kumar, a Dalit. Two others are from minority religions—Hardeep Puri, a Sikh and Alphons, a Christian.

The new ministers are also a mix of parliamentary experience and administrative capabilities. R. K. Singh, Satyapal Singh and Shekhawat are all first time MPs.

Here is a compilation of brief profiles of the ministers who have joined Narendra Modi government’s cabinet.

■ Hardeep Singh Puri: The former diplomat has been made MoS (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Puri served as India’s permanent representative to the United Nations in 2014 and held important positions in Brazil, Japan and Sri Lanka amongst other countries. Read more

■ Anant Kumar Hegde: New MoS in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Anant Kumar Hegde has a controversial past. Earlier this year, Anant Kumar Hegde, who was inducted in Narendra Modi’s cabinetwas allegedly involved in a fracas with doctors at the Totagarara Seva Samiti (TSS) Hospital in Sirsi. Read more

■ R.K. Singh: The former home secretary and MP from Arrah Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar has been made MoS (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Singh was the district magistrate of Samastipur in 1990, tasked with arresting L.K. Advani as he brought his infamous rath yatra to Bihar, en route to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh from Somnath in Gujarat. Read more

■ Ashwini Kumar Choubey: Ashwini Kumar Choubey, the Brahmin face of the BJP in Bihar, was appointed as a MoS in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday. Known for raising the toilet campaign slogan “Ghar ghar mein ho shouchalaya ka nirman, tabhi hoga ladli bitiya ka kanyadaan”, Choubey is the Lok Sabha MP from Buxar. He is currently a member of the parliamentary committee on estimates and standing committee on energy. Read more

■ Gajendra Singh Shekhawat: Jodhpur MP has been made the MoS in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. Shekhawat is considered to be one of the better-performing MPs in the Lok Sabha. Among the 320 debates that Shekhawat participated in, he discussed issues including manual scavenging, human trafficking, child labour and rehabilitation of farmers. Read more

■ Alphons Kannanthanam: The former bureaucrat has been made MoS (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Tourism and MoS in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. His elevation reflects the BJP’s current focus on Kerala. The party has been long been desperate to make a dent in Kerala’s traditional two-party politics dominated by the Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist). Last year it won its first assembly seat. Read more

■ Virendra Kumar: A Dalit leader from Madhya Pradesh and a six-term Lok Sabha MP, Virendra Kumar has been made the MoS in the Ministry of Women and Child Development as well as MoS in the Ministry of Minority Affairs. He has long been associated with various wings of the RSS. Read more

■ Satyapal Singh: A former Mumbai police commissioner, Singh has been made MoS in the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. Singh has been seen as an obvious choice after Sanjeev Balyan, also a Jat leader, was asked to quit ahead of the Cabinet rejig. Singh had humbled RLD chief Ajit Singh in his pocket borough of Baghpat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and his elevation can help the saffron party strengthen its hold on the community which is politically influential in western UP, Rajasthan and Haryana.

■ Shiv Pratap Shukla: The Brahmin leader has been made MoS in the Ministry of Finance and work under Finance Minister Arun Jatiley. The induction of Shukla, a Rajya Sabha member who does not enjoy the best of equations with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynanath, is seen an attempt by the party to keep Brahmins, a faithful support base, in good humour. Read more

In addition to the above nine Minister of State, PM Modi promoted four ministers to the cabinet rank.

■ Nirmala Sitharaman: She becomes the nation’s second woman defence minister. Indira Gandhi was the first. Sitharaman’s elevation to cabinet rank from the present post of minister of state with independent charge, proves that Prime Minister Modi considers her one of the better performers in his cabinet. Read more

■ Dharmendra Pradhan: Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan gets additional charge of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry. He has emerged as the party’s face in Odisha and become one of its visible leaders as the party has highlighted the “success” of his ministry’s scheme of giving free LPG connections to the poor in its political campaigns. Odisha is among the states high on the priority list of party chief Amit Shah for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Pradhan’s promotion about 20 months before the Lok Sabha as well as Odisha assembly polls can be a boost to the party in the coastal state. Both these elections are likely to be held there simultaneously.

■ Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi: Well-liked for his affable and easy-going manners, Minority Affairs Minister Naqvi has been promoted to the cabinet rank and will be the only Muslim cabinet minister in the Modi government. His promotion along with the induction of former IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam may help the saffron party in its minority outreach.

■ Piyush Goyal: He will be the new Railway Minister, and also head the coal portfolio. As a Minister of State with independent charge for power, coal, new and renewable energy and mines, is widely credited with astutely steering the Centre’s rural electrification agenda and turning around the coal sector. A chartered accountant by profession, 53-year-old Goyal was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharasthra last year for the second time. Read more

More From LiveMint

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon