With Cabinet rank, PM rewards top performers including Goyal, Pradhan | india-news | Hindustan Times
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With Cabinet rank, PM rewards top performers including Goyal, Pradhan

Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Dharmendra Pradhan were elevated to cabinet rank at a star-studded swearing-in ceremony in the historic Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2017 13:10 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Dharmendra Pradhan were elevated to cabinet rank at a star-studded swearing-in ceremony in the historic Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Dharmendra Pradhan were elevated to cabinet rank at a star-studded swearing-in ceremony in the historic Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.(HT Photos)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi elevated four senior ministers to cabinet rank as he roped in nine new faces to the Union council of ministers on Sunday morning.

Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Dharmendra Pradhan were elevated to cabinet rank at a star-studded swearing-in ceremony in the historic Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Analysts see these promotions as a reward for their performance.

Sitharaman has been in charge of commerce and industry—a crucial sector for Modi, who is trying to bring in more investments in a bid to turnaround the economy.

Pradhan was in charge of petroleum while Goyal handled the power sector and both are seen as having done a fair job.

Senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was elevated as minister of state with independent charge, apparently to fill the gap left after minority affairs minister Najma Heptullah resigned last year.

While these four ministers gave been given cabinet rank, there is no clarity about what portfolios they might get.

Speculations are rife that Goyal might be given charge of the railway ministry as incumbent Suresh Prabhu had offered his resignation in the aftermath of back-to-back rail derailments.

Pradhan’s elevation also indicates the BJP’s growing interest in gaining ground in poll-bound Odisha.

While Pradhan hails from Odisha, he is elected from Bihar. Pradhan is seen as one of the firebrand BJP leaders in Odisha and has been helping the party to improve its vote share in the coastal state.

While some of these cabinet ministers may get new portfolios, Naqvi is likely to continue as the minority affairs minister.