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JNU, DU get more weight in Modi govt with reshuffle, elevation of Sitharaman

The new ministerial team of the Narendra Modi government includes alumni of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Delhi University (DU).

india Updated: Sep 04, 2017 16:19 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nirmala Sitharaman,Cabinet reshuffle,Jawaharlal Nehru University
Nirmala Sitharaman signing the register after taking oath as a cabinet minister at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday. Sitharaman has become India’s 2nd woman defence minister after Indira Gandhi.(PTI Photo)

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Delhi University (DU) have reason to celebrate the reshuffle in the Narendra Modi government as alumni of the two institutions added heft to the ministry on Sunday.

JNU alumna Nirmala Sitharaman’s elevation as the defence minister from minister of state for commerce came as a complete surprise development.

Varsity’s vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar immediately took to Twitter to congratulate her: “JNU community is proud that the new defence minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman is an alumna of JNU. Congratulations.”

Sitharaman did her MA (Economics) and MPhil from JNU and will now be part of the Prime Minister-chaired Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which already has two DU alumni — Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Jaitely was an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader who went on to become in Delhi University Students’ Union president in 1974.

The other two ministers in the CCS are home minister Rajnath Singh, who graduated from Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University, and external affairs ministry Sushma Swaraj, a Panjab University degree holder.

Notably, Maneka Gandhi, the women and child development minister, is an alumna of both DU and JNU. She went to Lady Shri Ram College for Women and later studied German at JNU.

Sitharaman and Gandhi are the only two ministers from JNU, a top-ranking social sciences varsity which was roiled in a controversy due to student protests last year.

Among the ministers of state (independent charge) inducted on Sunday, Dr Hardeep Puri, former Indian diplomat to the United Nations, and Raj Kumar Singh, former Union home secretary, are DU alumni. Singh studied at St Stephens and Puri at Hindu college, both affiliated to DU. Puri later lectured at St Stephens.

Former Mumbai police commissioner, Satyapal Singh, who was made minister of state (Human Resource Development; and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation) is also a DU alumni.

Vijay Goel, who was shifted to parliamentary affairs and statistics ministries on Sunday, went to Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) of DU.

Other DU alumni are minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, culture minister Mahesh Sharma, minister of state (independent charge) of planning, Rao Inderjit Singh, who went to Hindu College, and minister of state (health and family welfare) Anupriya Patel.

First Published: Sep 04, 2017 16:17 IST