In the first cabinet expansion exercise of the Narendra Modi government, 21 ministers were inducted into the council of ministers on Sunday. Four ministers were allotted cabinet rank, whereas three took charge as ministers of state (independent charge). The remaining 14 took oath as MoS.
While former Goa chief minister Manohar Parikkar has been allotted the defence ministry, JP Nadda, who has been a long-time organisation man, is the new health minister. The incumbent Harshvardhan has been given science and technology and earth sciences. Birender Singh, who had shifted to the BJP from the Congress ahead of the Haryana elections, is the new rural development minister.
Here are the profiles of the newly sworn-in ministers and their portfolios.
Manohar Parrikar, 58 (Defence): A metallurgical engineering graduate from IIT-Bombay, he has a reputation for honesty and simplicity. He was praised as the 'Common Man's CM' for flying without security or entourage and carrying his own briefcase.
Suresh Prabhu, 61 (Railways): He was the chemical and fertilizer minister in the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. Prabhu, who later became the environment minister during the NDA regime, is known as a performer. A former Shiv Sena member, he is part of international bodies on sustainable growth and climate change. A law degree holder with doctorate in climate change from Germany, Prabhu is a strong votary of a balance between economic development and environment protection. His website says he has "uncommon whiff of much needed fresh air" who introduced amendment to the Patents Act that gave fillip to the Indian generic medicine industry.
Jagat Prakash Nadda, 54 (Health and family welfare): Brought up in Patna, Nadda was one of the youngest legislators to be elected to Himachal assembly. The veteran politician who earned recognition as a Himachal Pradesh leader lost the race for BJP's presidency to Amit Shah after the Lok Sabha elections. His big leap into politics started during Emergency in 1977 as an Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad activist. Nadda is known to maintain a low profile and claims to be a disciplined solider of the RSS.
Birender Singh, 68 (Rural development): A long-time Congress man, he joined the BJP before assembly elections in Haryana this August to protest against the grand old party not agreeing to the sacking of then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. In his long political career, he had been Congress in-charge for many states such as Uttarakhand and Himachal, and was the chairperson of many parliamentary standing committees. He had joined the BJP apparently on the assurance that he would get a Union cabinet berth.
Ministers of State (independent charge)
Bandaru Dattatreya, 67 (Labour and employment): A minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, he was president of the BJP in newly created state of Telangana. An RSS activist, he was the founding member of the party in residual Andhra Pradesh and was chairperson of several parliamentary standing committees. He had been elected to the Lower House for the first time from Secunderabad in the 10th Lok Sabha.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, 52 (Skill development and entrepreneurship, parliamentary affairs): At an age of 38, he was inducted as one of the youngest ministers in the Vajpayee government in 2000. He was a minister of state and elevated with independent charge three years later and given the important portfolio of civil aviation. An alumni of Panjab University and MP from Bihar, he was in-charge of the party in Maharashtra, where the BJP emerged as the largest single party in the recently concluded assembly elections.
Dr Mahesh Sharma, 55 (Culture, tourism, civil aviation): A doctor by profession, Sharma is an MP from Gautam Budh Nagar, Noida. He runs several charitable hospitals and clinics in the National Capital Territory. Sharma has been a long associate of the RSS and is former Noida MLA from the BJP.
Ministers of State
Hansraj Ahir, 59 (Chemicals and fertilizers): He is a member of Lok Sabha from Chandrapur in Maharashtra and was instrumental in exposing the coal scam. It was on his letter to the Central Vigilance Commission that led to a CBI inquiry into the coal scam. He was face of the BJP in exposing the coal scam during the UPA regime and obtained relevant documents to embarrass the Manmohan Singh led government. An active parliamentarian, Ahir had introduced a large number of private member bills in over 15 years as an MP.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, 57 (Minority affairs, parliamentary affairs): A vocal BJP spokesperson and former MoS for information and broadcasting, Naqvi has been the Muslim face of the party for long. Born in 1957 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Naqvi contested his first election on now-defunct Janata Party ticket in 1980 and was one of the ministers in Vajpayee's cabinet in 1998. Known for freely airing his views, he created a flutter by saying that now even Dawood Ibrahim can join the BJP on decision to induct Bihar Janata Dal (United) leader Shabbir Ali during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Giriraj Singh, 54 (Micro, small and medium enterprises): His emergence on the national political scene had been rather dramatic. During Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission debarred him from campaigning after he asked all Modi detractors to go to Pakistan. And after the polls, he was in the news for about Rs 1.14 crore stolen from his house in Patna. A firebrand Bhumihar leader, he was a minister in the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) and BJP alliance government, and has influence over vast pockets in southern Bihar, which goes to polls in 2015, and election-bound Jharkhand.
Ram Kripal Yadav, 57 (Drinking water and sanitation): A former Lalu Prasad supporter, he quit the party after being denied a ticket from Pataliputra. He contested on a BJP ticket and defeated Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti. A former deputy mayor of Patna and a law graduate, Yadav is known for his rhetoric in both the houses of Parliament, where he had represented Prasad's RJD. An aggressive campaigner with vote base among backwards in Bihar, his induction will strengthen the BJP's campaign to form the next government in the state in 2015 assembly elections.
Babul Supriyo, 44 (Urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation): It was on a flight with Baba Ramdev as co-passenger that singer Babul Supriyo's political baptism took place. Ramdev reportedly asked Supriyo if he was interested in politics and contesting an election. The singer's induction gives West Bengal representation in the Modi cabinet. Supriyo's thumping victory from Asansol on a BJP ticket was a huge boost for the party. Born and raised in Uttarpara, he is the musical heir to a prestigious musical family of Bengal and the grandson of the noted composer, Banikantha NC Baral.
Jayant Sinha 51 (Finance): The 51-year-old Hazaribagh MP, Jayant Sinha, is a former corporate honcho with wide experience in corporate governance and strategy consulting. He will be an asset in an economic ministry. Son of former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, he spent 12 years with McKinsey & Company as a partner apart from serving as president of Internet Business Capital Corp and in consulting positions at Stone & Webster and Synergic Resources Corporation, US. Sinha is an MBA with distinction from the Harvard Business School; has an MS in Energy Management and Policy from the University of Pennsylvania; and a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering with distinction from the IIT, Delhi.
Sanwar Lal Jat, 59 (Water resources, river development and ganga rejuvenation): Sanwar Lal Jat had defeated Congress heavyweight Sachin Pilot from the Ajmer seat. His elevation balances the Jat-Rajput equation in Rajasthan. Jat is a powerful leader in the area and had quit the Vasundhara Raje Cabinet to contest the elections.
Mohan Kundariya, 63 (Agricultutre): He is an influential leader from Patel community and MP from Rajkot. Powerful politician with strong roots in the Saurashtra region, he had served as minister in the Modi cabinet in Gujarat.
Ram Shankar, 50 (Human resource development): A second-time Lok Sabha member from Agra, Shankar is an academician by profession and had been part of the party's anti-corruption campaign. He was also part of several parliamentary committees in the 15th Lok Sabha. He was sworn in as minister of state.
Vijay Sampla, 53 (Social justice and empowerment): It is a rag to riches story for him. A Dalit employed as plumber in Saudi Arabia after his matriculation, he returned to Punjab a few decades ago and joined politics. A successful businessman now, Sampla was elected to Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur in Punjab and inducted into the cabinet for the first time.
YS Chowdhary, 53 (Science and technology, earth science): It has been a meteoric rise for the TDP leader. A businessman from Hyderabad, he was unanimously elected to Rajya Sabha in 2010. His brief bio-data on the Rajya Sabha website says he is an engineer by profession but was hand-picked for the election to Upper House by TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu.
Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, 60 (Home affairs): He is an MP from Banaskantha in Gujarat. He has been a BJP member since 1988, and had been the vice-president of Gujarat state unit from 2005 to 2010.
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, 47 (Food processing industries): The lone woman induction in the Modi cabinet, Jyoti is an MP from Fatepur who defeated RLD's Amar Singh. She was in news recently after a bid on her life and well-known RSS leanings.
Watch:All you need to know about new ministers