Dharmendra Pradhan gets Petroleum and Natural Gas, Steel ministries
Under Pradhan’s watch, BJP put up a creditable performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Odisha, winning 8 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats.Updated: May 31, 2019 15:27 IST
Dharmendra Pradhan has been made the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel in the new Cabinet of PM Narendra Modi.
Among the youngest cabinet ministers in the previous Narendra Modi government, 49-year-old Dharmendra Pradhan played a key role in the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, a scheme of distribution of gas cylinders to women who are below the poverty line, and living in rural areas.
The scheme was touted as one of the factors in the big victory of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the recent general elections. His ministry distributed seven crore LPG connections to the rural poor free of cost in less than three years of the launch of the scheme.
Pradhan, an anthropology post-graduate from Bhubaneswar’s Utkal University, rose to prominence thanks to his father and union minister Debendra Pradhan. He became an MLA in 2000 and then an MP in 2004 from Deogarh Lok Sabha constituency of Odisha. He became Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar in 2012 and then from Madhya Pradesh in 2018.
After he became Union minister in 2014, Pradhan became the most visible face of BJP in Odisha as he airdashed to the state almost every weekend to put up a challenge against the formidable Naveen Patnaik, who was recently sworn in as the chief minister of Odisha, for the fifth time.
Under Pradhan’s watch, BJP put up a creditable performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Odisha, winning 8 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats, a huge rise from one seat in 2014. The same performance, however, could not be repeated in the assembly polls that were held simultaneously, in which Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal swept.
Pradhan also helped guide the BJP’s social media strategy during the polls.