Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expanded his council of ministers and shuffled his leaders to strengthen his government’s agenda and kick-start the economy.
Modi, who took office in May after sweeping to power with a massive mandate in the Lok Sabha elections, now heads a 66-member council of ministers, with 26 ministers holding Cabinet rank.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders such as Rajiv Pratap Rudy, JP Nadda, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who were earlier engaged in party affairs, are now a part of his team.
As is perceived with Modi, there seems to be a plan in the manner in which leaders are being picked for the Centre and in states. Here’s a list of those rising through the ranks.
In Modi government
Manohar Parrikar, defence minister: 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.
Jagat Prakash Nadda, health and family welfare minister: Brought up in Patna, Nadda was one of the youngest legislators to be elected to Himachal assembly. Nadda is known to maintain a low profile and claims to be a disciplined solider of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is seen as the spiritual and ideological guide of the BJP.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, skill development and entrepreneurship, parliamentary affairs minister: He was in-charge of the party in Maharashtra, where the BJP emerged as the single largest party after the recent assembly elections.
Mahesh Sharma, culture, tourism and civil aviation minister: A doctor, Sharma has been a long associate of the RSS and is former Noida MLA. He is now the MP from Gautam Budh Nagar constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
Ram Shankar Katheria, MoS human resource development: A PhD holder and writer of books on social issues and uplift of Dalits, among others, Katheria's elevation as a MoS is being seen as a move which would help the party in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Hansraj Ahir, MoS chemicals and fertilisers: He is a member of Lok Sabha from Chandrapur in Maharashtra and was instrumental in exposing the coal scam. An active parliamentarian, Ahir has introduced a number of private member bills in over 15 years as an MP.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, MoS minority affairs, parliamentary affairs: A vocal BJP spokesperson, Naqvi has been the Muslim face of the party for long.
Giriraj Singh, MoS micro, small and medium enterprises: His emergence on the national political scene has been rather dramatic. A firebrand Bhumihar leader, he has influence over vast pockets in southern Bihar and election-bound Jharkhand. He was a minister in the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) and BJP alliance government in Bihar, which goes to polls in 2015.
Ram Kripal Yadav, MoS drinking water and sanitation: Yadav is known for his rhetoric in both houses of Parliament, where he had represented Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). An aggressive campaigner with vote base among backwards in Bihar, his induction will strengthen the BJP's campaign in the state for the 2015 assembly elections.
Babul Supriyo, MoS urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation: The singer's induction gives West Bengal representation in the Modi cabinet. Supriyo's thumping victory from Asansol was a huge boost for the party.
Jayant Sinha, MoS finance: Sinha, is a former corporate insider with wide experience in governance and strategy consulting. He 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 BTech in Chemical Engineering with distinction from the IIT, Delhi.
Sanwar Lal Jat, MoS water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation: He defeated Congress heavyweight Sachin Pilot from the Ajmer seat. His elevation balances the Jat-Rajput equation in Rajasthan. He is a powerful leader in the area and had quit the Vasundhara Raje cabinet to contest the elections.
Mohan Kundariya, MoS agricultutre: He is an influential leader from the Patel community and MP from Rajkot. A powerful politician with strong roots in the Saurashtra region, he had served as minister in the Modi cabinet in Gujarat.
Ram Shankar, MoS human resource development: A second-time Lok Sabha member from Agra, Shankar is an academic and was a part of the party's anti-corruption campaign.
Vijay Sampla, MoS 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 the Lok Sabha from Hoshiarpur.
Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, MoS home affairs: He is an MP from Banaskantha in Gujarat. He has been a BJP member since 1988, and was the vice-president of the party’s Gujarat unit from 2005 to 2010.Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, MoS food processing industries: The lone woman inducted into the Modi cabinet in the expansion, Jyoti is an MP from Fatehpur. She defeated the Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Amar Singh. She was in news recently after a bid on her life.
A combo photograph of President Pranab Mukherjee administering oath to new ministers of state at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
New faces in party
BJP president Shah has also carried out a major organisational reshuffle, giving important assignments to performers and bringing in new faces.
OP Mathur: The Rajasthan leader — who as election in-charge in Maharashtra polls won accolades — has been given charge of Uttar Pradesh. This is a job that Shah himself looked after in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.
Shrikant Sharma: As party secretary, he oversaw media affairs during the Lok Sabha polls. He has been given the charge of Himachal Pradesh, which the BJP lost to the Congress last year.
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe: Party vice-president and a close aide of Union minister Nitin Gadkari. He has been given charge of Madhya Pradesh.
Prabhat Jha: The Rajya Sabha MP will continue to oversee party affairs in Delhi while general secretary P Murlidhar Rao, another leader with RSS background, gets charge of Karnataka, which goes to poll in 2018.
Trivendra Singh Rawat: Former Uttarakhand minister and a Thakur leader, he worked closely with Shah as joint in-charge of Uttar Pradesh during the Lok Sabha polls. He is now in-charge of poll-bound Jharkhand.
Shyam Jaju: The party secretary worked closely with Team Modi during the Lok Sabha polls. He is now in charge of Uttarakhand.
Satish Upadhyay: He is president of the party’s Delhi unit and will be kept busy ahead of polls, most likely in January or February next year.
Mohan Lal Khattar, Haryana: Khattar is a former RSS pracharak.
Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra: The 18th chief minister of Maharashtra was an active Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) member in college. In the ABVP, he started as a grassroots worker, painting walls and sticking promotional posters for established leaders.
Laxmikant Parsekar, Goa: A three-term MLA and former chief of state BJP. He started as a RSS worker.