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Cabinet rejig: Meet 19 newly inducted ministers in PM Narendra Modi's core team

Prakash Javadekar, who held the independent charge of environment, was the lone minister promoted to the cabinet rank while all new inductees took oath as ministers of state.

BT Online | July 5, 2016 | Updated 15:23 IST
Cabinet rejig: Meet 19 newly inducted ministers in PM Narendra Modi's core team
Photo: Reuters

PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday expanded his Cabinet with 19 new faces, including several dalit and OBC leaders as well as those from poll-bound states like Uttar Pradesh.

This is the second expansion of the council of ministers since Modi government came to power in May 2014.

Prakash Javadekar, who held the independent charge of environment, was the lone minister promoted to the cabinet rank while all new inductees took oath as ministers of state.

All barring Vijay Goel and Faggan Kulaste are new faces while a few have been ministers in BJP-ruled state governments.

Below is the quick introduction of all the new inductees who came on board today:

1) PP Chaudhary

Chaudhary joined the RSS when he was eight years old as a 'Bal Swayamsevak' in 1961. He won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from Pali Lok Sabha constituency, with a victory margin of over 4,00,000 votes.

2) SS Ahluwalia

Once a key member of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's "shouting brigade" with Mamata Banerjee during the Bofors controversy and a former Union Minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government, Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia is also a linguist.

Known for expertise in parliamentary rules and often called "encyclopedia" on legislative issues, the 65-year-old lawmaker has been also Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Upper House under BJP's Arun Jaitley during the Manmohan Singh regime.

3) MJ Akbar

M J Akbar's debut as a minister caps a remarkable political turnaround for the journalist and author who made a dashing foray into politics as a Congress MP in 1989, thanks to his proximity to the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, before a long spell in wilderness.

65-year-old Akbar, who was recently elected to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, is seen as an articulate and modern Muslim voice in BJP who can also be trusted to defend it at times on the strident Hindutva pitch with his eloquent evocation of Modi's developmental agenda.

4) Anupriya Patel

Patel is one of the youngest ministers in the government. She was elected to the Lok Sabha from the constituency of Mirzapur in the 2014 Indian general election. She is an eloquent pro-Modi voice within and outside the Lok Sabha whose OBC roots have positioned her as an important BJP ally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

5) Mahendra Pandey

Pandey won the Lok Sabha election in 2014 from the Chandauli. He is a two-term BJP MLA and a first term MP.

6) Parshottam Rupala

He is a member of Rajya Sabha representing Gujarat and a leader of Bharatiya Janata Party. Rupala hails from Amreli district, and is considered an influential Patel leader from Saurashtra.

7) Vijay Goel

Vijay Goel's inclusion in the Union Council of Ministers marks a comeback of sorts for the leader after BJP virtually removed him from Delhi, where he once hoped to be the chief ministerial face, and sent him to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.

8) Arjun Ram Meghwal

A bureaucrat-turned-politician, Arjun Ram Meghwal, the chief whip of BJP in Lok Sabha, is known for his penchant for pedalling to Parliament.

Meghwal was born into family of weavers in Kishmidesar village of Bikaner district. He began his career as a telephone operator while pursuing his LLB and got into the Rajasthan Civil Services after two failed attempts.

9) Anil Madhav Dave

Anil Madhav Dave is from Madhya Pradesh and has studied M Com from Gujarati College, Indore. He is actively working for Narmada river's conservation. Born in 1956, Anil Madhav Dave is a social worker and has written several books in Hindi.

10) Ramesh Jigajinagi

Ramesh Jigajinagi represents the Bijapur constituency of Karnataka for Bharatiya Janata Party. He was a police officer once, and his Lok Sabha profile lists 'musician' among his professions.

11) Faggan Singh Kulaste

Kulaste represents the Mandla constituency of Madhya Pradesh for BJP. His name had figured in the 2008 cash-for-vote scandal. He was jailed for two months over a sting operation exposing what was called the cash-for-vote before the trust vote of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government in 2008. However, a court in Delhi had acquitted him in the case.

12) Ramdas Athawale

Athawale is a Dalit leader and is a member of the Rajya Sabha. Athawale's party, the Republican Party of India, is an ally of the BJP in Maharashtra. His induction into the council of ministers is seen as balancing important caste equations ahead of important elections in Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai.

13) Rajen Gohain

Rajen Gohain is a four time BJP MP from Assam, but is largely an unknown face. Besides representing Nowgong constituency of the North-Eastern state since 1999, Gohain does not have a stellar performance record in the Lok Sabha as well.

14) Subhash Ram Rao Bhamre

Subhash Ram Rao Bhamre, a lawmaker from Maharashtra, is also a well-known doctor with a super specialisation in cancer surgery.

15) CR Chaudhary

CR Chaudhary is a Lok Sabha MP from Nagaur. He has served in various capacities in the Rajasthan government. He has been inducted for expertise in rural development.

16) Mansukhbhai Mandavia

Mansukhbhai Mandavia is a BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, and is considered close to PM Modi.

17) Jasvantsinh Bhabhor

Bhabhor is a member of parliament to the 16th Lok Sabha from Dahod, Gujarat. He is a farmer and a social worker by profession.

18) Ajay Tamta

Tamta is Lok Sabha MP from Uttarakhand's Almora. He will be the Dalit face of the BJP.

19) Krishna Raj

Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh's Shahjahanpur, Raj is one of the new faces from poll-bound UP. As per caste equations, Krishna Raj has been inducted in the government to target the Dalit vote bank.

(With inputs from agencies)

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