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Lok Sabha polls: Old team, new beginning: Big four intact, PM Modi sends big message

Lok Sabha polls: Old team, new beginning: Big four intact, PM Modi sends big message


NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has largely trusted his previous administration's team, retaining the same big four cabinet members that make up the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) as portfolios were announced on Monday evening. He handed the same responsibilities to most senior ministers from the last term, while including new faces and allies in departments vacated by those who lost elections or were transferred to their home states. Leaving no doubt that his main objective is the completion of projects launched by the previous government as part of the road map for the next 25 years, the Prime Minister has largely chosen the same leaders who were engaged in the conduct of this strategy.Amit Shah remains at home, Rajnath Singh remains defense minister, Nirmala Sitharaman continues in finance and S Jaishankar retains the external affairs portfolio, ending speculation that the CCS may see new members.
Some mixed wallets
His core team of ministers also retained their portfolios. Nitin Gadkari (road transport and highways), Piyush Goyal (commerce and industry), Dharmendra Pradhan (education), Sarbananda Sonowal (ports, navigation and waterways), Virendra Kumar (social justice and empowerment), Ashwini Vaishnaw (railways, electronics and information). technology), Hardeep Puri (oil and natural gas) and Bhupender Yadav (environment, forest and climate change) will continue to lead the ministries they headed for the last five years. Some of them got rid of additional portfolios assigned to them when others left the council of ministers in the past.

Vaishnaw is also in charge of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, headed by Anurag Thakur during the last administration.

There is also some continuity within the team of Ministers of State (MoS) with independent functions. Rao Inderjit Singh (statistics and program implementation, planning); Jitendra Singh (Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, PMO), Arjun Ram Meghwal (Law and Justice, Parliamentary Affairs) will retain the same responsibilities with minor changes.


Among the new heavyweights with important portfolios is JP Nadda, whose tenure as BJP president is coming to an end. He will head the Ministry of Health and Family which he was in charge of before taking the helm of the party. He was also put in charge of chemicals and fertilizers. Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was entrusted with agriculture, farmers' welfare and rural development. Chouhan had received praise in the past for his agricultural welfare measures in Madhya Pradesh. These ministries were headed by Narendra Singh Tomar before he became an MP and became president of the Vidhan Sabha there. Former Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal was given charge of housing and urban affairs and power. As Smriti Irani lost the Amethi elections, Annpurna Devi became the Minister of Women and Child Development.

Kiren Rijiju, whose wings seemed to have been clipped under the last government, is making a comeback as head of parliamentary affairs. His role will be important as the BJP does not have a majority in the Lower House on its own and depends on its NDA allies to catch up. He will also head the Ministry of Minority Affairs which Irani was in charge of. Gujarat BJP chief CR Patil will look after the Jal Shakti ministry.

The BJP sought to accommodate its NDA allies. Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy got the heavy industries and steel ministries, which were usually given to allies during the previous UPA and NDA. HAM-S president and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has been given the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises, while Rajiv Ranjan Singh (JDU) will look after panchayati raj as well as fisheries, breeding and dairy production.

LJP-RV leader Chirag Paswan has been appointed head of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries. K Ram Mohan Naidu, TDP leader and youngest member of Modi's team at 36, will head the civil aviation ministry, succeeding Jyotiraditya Scindia. The portfolio lost some of its weight after the privatization of Air India but is considered a good training ground for Naidu.

Some of the ministers from the last term have seen their portfolios reshuffled. Pralhad Joshi will now be Minister of Consumption, Food and Public Distribution as well as New and Renewable Energy. Giriraj Singh turns to textiles. Scindia gets communications and development of the northeast region. Others include Gajendra Shekhawat (culture and tourism) and Mansukh Mandaviya (labor and employment, youth and sports). Telangana BJP chief G Kishan Reddy will head the Ministry of Coal and Mines. While Arjun Munda lost the Lok Sabha elections, Jual Oram is back as head of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

Among the allies, Jayant Chaudhary (RLD) is Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship as well as Education, while Jadhav Prataprao is Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ayush and MoS for health and family welfare.

Although the NDA council of ministers had no Muslim faces, it welcomed Sikh and Christian leaders to demonstrate balance. Ravneet Singh Bittu, the Sikh leader who left the Congress to join the BJP but lost to Ludhiana, has been appointed minister of state for food processing and railways. George Kurian, general secretary of the BJP Kerala unit, is minister of health, minority affairs and fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying.

Jitin Prasada, a UP minister and former union minister in the Congress-led UPA, is a junior minister in the commerce and industries and electronics and IT departments.

Suresh Gopi, who sparked controversy following reported remarks that he did not want to be a minister, is the minister of petroleum and natural gas as well as tourism. He later said the comments had been misrepresented.

West Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar is deputy minister for education and development of the northeast region, while former Telangana party chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar is deputy home minister .




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