Meet Modi’s new ministers: Taekwondo expert, diplomat, Delhi’s ‘demolition man’
At least nine new faces will be inducted into the Union Council of Ministers on Sunday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertakes an expansion and reshuffle of his government. We take a look at who the new faces are.Updated: Sep 03, 2017 00:33 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sprang a surprise on Saturday, picking former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri and his government’s first minister from Kerala in the latest round of cabinet reshuffle. The two are among nine new ministers who will take oath on Sunday, sources said.
The profiles of the new ministers show that Modi has picked his colleagues from a wide range of experiences and political backgrounds to help the government focus more on the last-mile delivery of schemes and policies, the sources added.
The BJP’s allies didn’t figure in the rejig.
The government is yet to announce the portfolios of the new ministers and changes, if any, in those of the existing ministers. In the run up to the reshuffle, six ministers have resigned so far. Here’s a look at the nine new ministers:
Hardeep Singh Puri (Age: 65)
The 1974 batch Indian Foreign Services officer’s career spanned over 40 years. He was the permanent representative of India to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. He was also India’s ambassador to Brazil and the United Kingdom. Like many other BJP leaders, Puri too, was active during the JP movement. He studied at The Hindu College, Delhi.
Alphons Kannanthanam (Age: 64)
The first Malayali face of the Modi government was best known as “the demolition man”, when he headed the Delhi Development Authority. The 1979 batch of the IAS, Kerala cadre, was born in a non-electrified village.
Satyapal Singh (Age: 61)
The former Mumbai Police commissioner is a first-time MP. He fought from Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat, where he was born. The giant-killer — he defeated RLD leader Ajit Singh -- is credited with taking on organised crime syndicates in Mumbai. An MSc and MPhil in Chemistry, Singh also has a PhD in Naxalism.
Shiv Pratap Shukla (Age: 65)
The Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh was in state assembly for four consecutive terms. He began his political career as a student leader in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and was a UP minister for eight years. During the Emergency, Shukla was imprisoned under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA).
Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Age: 64)
“Ghar - Ghar me ho Shouchalaya ka nirman, Tabhi hoga Ladli Bitiya ka Kanyadaan” was a famous slogan by Choubey, a Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Buxar and a former health minister of the state. Choubey has been elected for five consecutive terms to the Bihar assembly. He played an active role in the JP movement in the 1970s.
Anantkumar Hegde (Age: 49)
He is a five-time Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada in Karnataka and practices taekwondo, the Korean martial art. In 2016, Hegde was booked by the Karnataka police for hate speech. He got elected for the first time when he was just 28 years old.
Raj Kumar Singh (Age: 64)
He is a Lok Sabha MP from Arrah in Bihar. Singh is a former IAS officer of the 1975 batch, Bihar cadre. He is a former home secretary.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Age: 49)
He is a Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur. Shekhawat is known for being social media-savvy, with thousands of followers on blogging website Quora.
Virendra Kumar (Age: 63)
Virendra Kumar is a Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgah in Madhya Pradesh. He is another minister with political connections rooted in the JP movement. He has a PhD in Child Labour.