Know who are within striking distance of booking a cabinet berth in Modi govt

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 26, 2014 11:20 IST

BJP leader Narendra Modi's government will be powered by 45-50 "bright, focused and clean” leaders who will average 55 years of age and will lead ministries that will be lean and compact.

When Modi takes oath as prime minister on Monday evening, focus will be on his team members.

How many ministers will Modi have? Who will get the finance ministry to lead the economic turnaround? What about the external affairs portfolio?

Will BJP president Rajnath Singh join the new government, paving the way for someone else to take up the saffron party's organisational affairs?

What role will veterans such as LK Advani and MM Joshi play in the 16th Lok Sabha?

Before the names are announced, HT takes a look at career snapshots of Modi and some of the leaders in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) camp who might be his ministers.

Here's your ready reckoner on those in with a chance of making the ministerial cut. Read on with HT.

Narendra Modi: The 63-year-old leader is a former pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP. He rose from the ranks in the saffron party. Before taking over as the Gujarat chief minister in 2001, Modi served the party as its general secretary (organisation) and spokesperson in Delhi. He also served as the organisational secretary of the BJP's Gujarat unit. Modi owes his rise in the BJP to the RSS and veteran leader LK Advani.

Rajnath Singh: He is the longest-serving chief of the BJP after Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh (country's most populous state), Singh, 62, introduced RTI allowing anybody to scan government files after paying a fee of Rs 10. During his stint as the Union surface transport minister, Singh conceived Bharat Stage emission standard, replacing its European counterpart — Euro.

Sushma Swaraj: The 62-year-old leader is BJP's woman face in and outside Parliament. She earned laurels by showing political courage by taking on Sonia Gandhi from Bellary in 1999. She took over as the first woman chief minister of Delhi in 1998. Born in Haryana, Swaraj has represented Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh in both Houses of Parliament.

Arun Jaitley: An ace strategist, the 61-year-old leader has been the BJP's most prominent face in Rajya Sabha. A former Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activist, Jaitley has the reputation of being a clean leader. He has been the party's chief troubleshooter and is considered close to Modi.

Varun Gandhi: The 34-year-old leader is the son of Maneka Gandhi and late Sanjay Gandhi. Seen as BJP's potential big leader in Uttar Pradesh, Varun is the youngest national general secretary in the party's history. Exonerated by the court in a hate speech case, Varun has of late moulded himself into a leader who speaks about development and taking people along.

Anurag Thakur: Thakur, 39, dons many caps. Son of former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, he is a former cricketer and now an office bearer of the BCCI and the president of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. He was re-nominated as the chief of BJP's youth wing when Rajnath Singh took over as the party president in 2013.

Smriti Irani: A member of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, 38-year-old Irani made it big on the small screen. Chosen by the party to give a fight to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, Irani is also considered close to Modi. Currently holding the post of party's vice-president, she headed BJP's women's front when Nitin Gadkari was the party president. She is known for her brilliant oratory skills.

M Venkaiah Naidu: The former BJP chief is a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka. The 64-year-old leader is the party's face from South India and among the first ones who backed Modi's projection as the PM candidate. Naidu held portfolios like agriculture in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

SS Ahluwalia: He has been a four-time Rajya Sabha member. Many in the Congress envied his memory and skills to throw back at them parliamentary rules. Considered a moving encyclopaedia of Indian politics and parliamentary procedures, the 62-year-old Darjeeling MP is a first-timer in Lok Sabha.

Dharmendra Pradhan: Born in Odisha, 44-year-old Pradhan is the general secretary of the party and a Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar. A former member of the Lok Sabha, Pradhan was chief of the party's youth wing between 2004 and 2006. His father, Debendra Pradhan, was a member of the 13th Lok Sabha and a minister of state in the Vajpayee government.

Arun Shourie: A journalist-politician, the 72-year-old Magsaysay award recipient is known for his proximity to Modi and the RSS. He had a controversial stint as disinvestment minister in the Vajpayee government. He ruffled many feathers in the BJP after the party's 2009 defeat when he targeted, through TV interviews and his articles, some top party leaders. His sister, Nalini Singh, is also a prominent TV personality.

Ravishankar Prasad: The 59-year-old BJP leader from Bihar is a Supreme Court lawyer and the deputy leader of the party in Rajya Sabha. As a student leader, he participated in the JP movement and was imprisoned during the Emergency. He was crucial in getting a case registered against former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam. Born to a prominent Kayastha family in Patna, his father, late Thakur Prasad, was one of the founders of the Jan Sangh (the BJP's predecessor) and closely associated with the RSS.

Rajiv Pratap Rudy: A general secretary of the BJP, he is a former civil aviation minister and holds a commercial pilot license. The 52-year-old was actively involved in students' politics while studying in Punjab University and even lectured before donning the khadi.

Given the BJP's performance in Maharashtra, where the saffron party and its allies won 42 of the 48 seats to rout the ruling Congress-NCP combine, quite a few leaders from the state could find a place in the Modi government. Here is a look at some of the probables.

Nitin Gadkari: The 56-year-old leader from Nagpur is a blue-eyed boy of the RSS. As BJP's national president between 2010 and 2012, he was praised and criticised for his unconventional style of politics. He was a PWD minister in the erstwhile BJP-Shiv Sena Maharashtra government and had overseen the building of the remarkable Mumbai-Pune expressway and 55 flyovers in Mumbai.

Piyush Goyal: Chartered accountant Goel, 49, is the party's national treasurer. He is an all-India second rank holder in chartered accountant examinations and also the second rank holder in law in Mumbai University. He has worked closely with Modi on his election campaign and has good contacts in Mumbai's business world. His father, late VP Goyal, was a minister in the Vajpayee government and the party's treasurer for over two decades.

Gopinath Munde: A former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, Munde, 64, has the experience of running several departments including energy and home. He is an OBC leader who commands respect in cross sections of the society.

Hansraj Ahir: He is a four-time MP from Chandrapur. Ahir, 59, who keeps a low profile, played a crucial role in exposing a coal scam.

Raosaheb Danve: The 59-year-old leader is a four-time MP from Jalna in Marathwada. He has managed to maintain BJP's hold in his area. This Munde loyalist is from the Maratha community, which is a politically dominant section in Maharashtra.

Kirit Somaiya: Only experienced BJP parliamentarian from Mumbai, the 60-year-old leader has contacts in the business world.

Anant Geete (from BJP ally Shiv Sena): The senior Shiv Sena leader is now the party's group leader in Lok Sabha. Geete, 62, was the Union energy minister in the Vajpayee government. He represents Raigad constituency in Konkan in Lok Sabha.

Anandrao Adsul: One of the senior-most Sena MPs, Adsul, 66, is a backward class leader who has bases in Vidarbha and Mumbai.

Chandrakant Khaire: The 62-year-old Sena MP was elected from Aurangabad in Marathwada region where the party has a strong base.

Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil: The 58-year-old industrialist-turned-politician is a three-time MP and has been winning in the Shirur constituency in Sharad Pawar-dominated Pune.

Bhavana Gawali: She is Shiv Sena's only woman MP. Gawali, 40, will represent the Sena for the fourth consecutive time in Lok Sabha. She was elected from Yavatmal-Washim and defeated Congress' state minister Shivajirao Moghe.

Ramdas Athawale (from BJP ally Republican Party of India): The 54-year-old RPI chief has been demanding a cabinet berth, saying making him minister would help the NDA get more Dalit votes. Recently, the BJP nominated him to Rajya Sabha.

Raju Shetti (from BJP ally Swabhimani Paksha): Shetti, 46, has been elected to Parliament from Hatkanangale constituency in western Maharashtra for the second time in a row. A farmers' leader, he won despite alleged efforts by powerful sugar baron lobby in the region to defeat him.

(With inputs from Kumar Uttam)

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