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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Mix of old and new faces in Prime Minister Modi’s NDA 2.0

The PM Modi, 24 cabinet ministers, nine ministers of state with independent charge and 24 ministers of state make up the 58-member team.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2019 09:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi seen before taking oath during the swearing-in ceremony at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, May 30, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi seen before taking oath during the swearing-in ceremony at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, May 30, 2019. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT PHOTO)
         

PM Modi, 24 cabinet ministers, nine ministers of state with independent charge and 24 ministers of state make up the 58-member team.

Narendra Modi

 

As he took the oath of office for a second time as PM, Narendra Modi set a new benchmark. Here was the first leader to win a majority in Parliament, twice in a row, in close to five decades. Here was a man who rose from poverty, committed himself to grassroots political work, governed a state for 12 years and went on to become a mass leader like India has rarely seen before. Here was a figure who won the votes of over 220 million Indians, and rewrote the rules of politics.

Amit Shah

 

BJP chief Amit Shah’s entry is the most significant inclusion in the new Modi government. Shah has been an associate of the PM for over three decades. He is credited with building the party’s formidable and robust organisational structure and converting it into a winning election machine and expanding its geographical spread and social depth.

Rajnath Singh

 

Retaining his position as the senior-most minister, Rajnath Singh has shown that he remains a key political figure in the BJP, with his own autonomous political strength. Singh is a former UP CM, a former minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, and a former party president under whose watch the 2014 election was won.

Nitin Gadkari

 

Few enjoyed the reputation that Nitin Gadkari did in the first term of the Modi government. Even as the perception that the government was centralised gained ground, most observers believed that Gadkari was a truly autonomous minister. With the Maharashtra polls looming, and for relations with Shiv Sena to be kept intact, Gadkari will continue to play a crucial political role.

N Sitharaman

 

From a party spokesperson who fiercely attacked the UPA government in its second term and championed Modi’s PM candidacy in 2013-14 on television channels, Nirmala Sitharaman has come a long way in just over five years. Her profile saw a big jump when she was appointed defence minister. Sitharaman picked up issues in the ministry quickly.

S Jaishankar

 

The biggest surprise in the new Modi government is the appearance of former foreign secretary S Jaishankar in the front row of cabinet ministers. It was unexpected because he had turned to a career in the corporate world after retiring from the service in January 2018. He was always considered one of Modi’s favourite diplomats.

Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal has emerged as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s go-to man in the last five years. A Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra, the 55-year-old leader has proved his mettle both as power minister and railway minister, pushing total electrification of the country and promoting rail infrastructure projects.

Also Read | 57-member Team Modi in place, first cabinet meet today; portfolios soon

Goyal also held additional charge of the finance ministry when Arun Jaitley was unwell and tabled the interim budget ahead of the 2019 general elections. Mentored by late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajapayee, he comes from a political family with close links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

 Also Watch | Modi sarkar 2.0 takes oath | The 10 key faces in new Union Cabinet

His late father, Ved Prakash Goyal, was Union minister of shipping and BJP national treasurer for over 20 years. Goyal, too, was BJP national treasurer and in charge of the party’s advertising and communication campaign for the 2014 general elections.

He is a chartered accountant and lawyer by qualification and an investment banker by profession.

Smriti Irani 

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Smriti Irani is the giant-killer of Amethi, having defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his family bastion by around 55,000 votes.

This is the first time she has won a Lok Sabha election, although she contested on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket from Amethi in 2014 too.

Earlier a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, the 43-year-old has held various portfolios in the first Modi government, including Information & broadcasting, human resource development and textiles.

In the middle of the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign, the Congress targeted her over her educational qualifications, but she was undeterred.

Before joining politics, she was a television actress, best known for her role as a housewife in the teleserial, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Asked about the big takeaway from her victory in Amethi, she had quipped, “The big message, I think, is that one should never mess with a housewife!” But she added that the real challenge was to “deliver on expectations”.

Ravi Shankar Prasad 

Ravi Shankar Prasad, 63, a lawyer by profession, is a first-time member of the Lok Sabha from Patna Sahib, where he defeated former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) colleague Shatrughan Sinha, who contested as a Congress candidate.

Also Read | 5 frontbenchers gone, Lok Sabha has new-look seating plan

Prasad had been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2000. A law graduate from Patna University, Prasad came into prominence when he became the main lawyer in a public interest litigation against former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad in the so-called fodder scam, in which vast amounts of money were embezzled from the state treasury for ostensibly procuring fodder and medicine for livestock. Prasad took active part in student agitations during the 1970s, organising protests against Indira Gandhi’s government during her emergency rule in the mid-1970s. Prasad has held several ministerial portfolios, including the law and justice and electronics and information technology, in the first term of the Narendra Modi government.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi 

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is a two-time Rajya Sabha MP. The 62-year-old is a prominent Muslim face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was elected to the Upper House from Jharkhand in 2016. Born in Allahabad, Naqvi was just 17 when he was detained at Naini Central Jail under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during the Emergency in 1975. However, it was not the only time Naqvi was imprisoned. He went to jail over three dozen times for several national movements.

He was first elected to the Lok Sabha from Rampur in 1998. He served as minister of state for information and broadcasting in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and as minister of state for minority and parliamentary affairs in the first Modi government.

After Najma Heptulla’s resignation on July 12, 2016, he got independent charge of the ministry of minority affairs. He was first elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 2010, and then again in 2016 from Jharkhand.

He has served as vice-president, general secretary and spokesman of the BJP.

Prakash Javadekar 

Prakash Javadekar has held a number of important ministries earlier, including the human resource development ministry, the environment, forest and climate change, and I&B ministry over the last five years.

The 68-year-old politician is a Rajya Sabha (RS) member from Madhya Pradesh. Considered to be close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Javadekar cut his political teeth as an activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the RSS, in his college days in Pune in 1968 and later the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) youth wing.

A former banker, Javadekar quit his job to join the BJP as a full time worker more than three decades ago. He was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council from Pune for two terms from 1990-2002. Many credit Javadekar with running the high-profile HRD ministry without many controversies.

Harsh Vardhan 

Harsh Vardhan is a two-time member of Parliament from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency, and defeated Congress’s J P Agarwal by over 200,000 votes this time.

An ENT surgeon by profession, the 64-year-old started his political career from Delhi when he was first elected MLA from Krishna Nagar in 1993.

He won consecutive assembly elections between 1993 and 2013 and headed the BJP’s Delhi unit twice. After his victory from Chandni Chowk in 2014, he was inducted in the Modi cabinet and given the high-profile health ministry.

Also Read | Amit Shah’s presence in PM Modi’s new cabinet to boost govt

But months later, he was moved to the science and technology ministry.

In 2017, he was given additional charge of the environment, forest and climate change ministry. It was during his tenure as environment minister that the national clean air programme was formulated. He was also Delhi’s first health minister and is credited for the successful implementation of the pilot project of Pulse Polio programme in 1994 .

Ram Vilas Paswan 

An eight-time Lok Sabha member, Ram Vilas Paswan, 72, is also president of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), a partner in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Paswan did not contest the 17th Lok Sabha election, but is set to take the route to Parliament through the Rajya Sabha.

An inveterate politician, Paswan has been a minister at the Centre in coalition governments under both the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Despite forming the LJP out of the Janata Dal (United) in 2000, Paswan joined the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA government, of which the JD(U) too was a part.

He severed ties with the NDA after the Gujarat riots in 2002 to join the UPA in 2004.

Paswan was minister of chemicals and fertilisers between May 23, 2004 and May 22, 2009 in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government. Paswan had to pay the price for severing ties with the Congress in 2009. With the LJP wiped out, Paswan hit a political trough, having lost the Hajipur Lok Sabha seat that year. Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad helped him to the Rajya Sabha in 2010. He embraced the NDA again in 2014. He held the portfolios of mines, communications and information technology, railways and labour and welfare, before joining the Narendra Modi government in 2014. He was last a cabinet minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution.

Dharmendra Pradhan 

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.

Arvind Sawant 

Arvind Sawant, 67, is known in Shiv Sena for his good oratory skills and an ability to develop relations across party lines. These are the qualities which have helped him grow in the party. A Parliament member from Mumbai South, Sawant defeated Congress’s Milind Deora by a margin of over 100,000 votes.

Sawant defeated Deora in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well. He went on to have 98.5% attendance in the Lok Sabha and participated in 287 debates.

Sawant joined the Shiv Sena in 1966 as a teenager and was appointed a group head (the lowest post in the party’s hierarchy) two years later. He graduated from the Bombay University before working in Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL). He was instrumental in forming an MTNL union.

When the Sena-BJP government came to power in Maharashtra, Sawant was nominated to the Maharashtra Legislative Council in 1996. He was again nominated to the upper house of the state legislature in 2004.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal 

Harsimrat Kaur Badal, 52, from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), will be part of the new cabinet of the 17th Lok Sabha. Badal was elected for the third consecutive time from Bathinda, where she defeated Congress’ Amrinder Singh Warring by little over 21,000 votes.

Badal was the minister for food processing in the first term of the Narendra Modi government. She has been chosen to represent the Punjab-based party, which is one of the oldest allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party, in the new cabinet.

Badal is a graduate from Delhi University and holds a diploma in textile design.

She has been a regular visitor to her constituency, and receives support from brother Bikram Singh Majithia who was a minister in the earlier SAD-BJP coalition government in Punjab.

Badal is the wife of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, and the daughter-in-law of Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal. Sukhbir Singh Badal won the Firozpur Lok Sabha seat in the recent general elections. The party won only two of the 10 seats that it contested in the state.

Narendra Singh Tomar 

Narendra Singh Tomar, 61, who played a key role in implementing the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, as union minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, and Mines in the 2014 cabinet, was re-elected to the new cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

Tomar, who won from Morena defeating Ramniwas Rawat of the Congress by a margin of 113,000 votes, has been responsible for the assembly wins of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Madhya Pradesh. As state BJP president he led the party to victory in the state assembly elections in 2008. He was sent back by the central leadership in 2013, and led the party to a third consecutive win. He was state BJP affairs in charge in Uttar Pradesh during 2012 assembly elections. Tomar is known for his organisational skills.

Tomar started his political career as a student leader and later became a corporator in Gwalior. In the run up to the state assembly elections in 2008, the Rajput leader from the Gwalior-Chambal region impressed the senior party leaders when he announced that he would not contest assembly elections for the sake of organisational work and the party’s victory.

Pralhad joshi 

For Pralhad Joshi, 56, the reward of a Union cabinet berth comes at a crucial time. The four-time MP from Dharwad in Karnataka was overlooked for a ministerial post in the first term of the Narendra Modi government in favour of two other Brahmin leaders from the state, Ananth Kumar and Anantkumar Hegde

After winning his first term as an MP in 2004, Joshi grew in terms of the responsibilities he was given. This was topped by him being made the state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2013, a post he held until former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa took over three years later.

In the Lok Sabha election this time, Joshi proved his mettle. He was up against a familiar foe in Vinay Kulkarni of the Congress, which projected the election as a battle between a Brahmin and a Lingayat, the dominant community in the northern Mumbai-Karnataka region.

Joshi was able to tap the anger against the movement for a separate Lingayat religion, which had been spearheaded by Kulkarni, and he won by over 200,000 votes.

Prahlad Patel 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Prahlad Patel, 58, hails from the Mahakoshal region of Madhya Pradesh. He was a Union minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989, 1996, 1999, 2014 and 2019. He won this election from Damoh, defeating Pratap Singh of the Congress party. Patel began his political career as a student leader and held several posts with the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP. He sided with former Union minister Uma Bharti when she had rebelled against the leadership’s decision to make Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Madhya Pradesh’s CM in 2005. He later rejoined the BJP. Patel has focussed on working against pollution of Narmada river.

Mansukh Mandaviya 

Mansukh Laxmanbhai Mandaviya, 46, was sworn in as a minister of state with independent charge on Thursday. In the previous government, he was the minister of state in charge of ministry of road transport and highways, ministry of shipping and ministry of chemicals and fertilizers. He became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2012, and was re-elected last year.

In 2002, at 28 years, Mandaviya won the Palitana assembly seat, making him the youngest Gujarat legislator. In 2012, when then state president R C Faldu lost the assembly elections, Mandaviya became the face of the community in politically sensitive Saurashtra region.

Mandaviya is known to often cycle to the Parliament when it’s in session.

Santosh Gangwar 

Santosh Gangwar, 70, is a veteran parliamentarian who lost from his traditional Bareilly seat just once in 2009 ever since his electoral debut in 1989. He has won the Lok Sabha election eight times.

An active member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), he was first elected as an MP from Bareilly in 1989 and represented the constituency for six consecutive terms till 2009. He was defeated by Congress’s Praveen Singh Aron, but wrested back his seat in 2014 and retained it in 2019. Gangwar also went to jail during the Emergency. Born in a family of farmers in Tiulya villag, Gangwar attended the Agra University and Rohilkhand University from where he completed his BSc and LLB, respectively.

Mahendra Nath Pandey 

Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party chief Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, 61, who won his second Lok Sabha poll from Chandauli in eastern UP, took oath as union minister in the Modi government on Thursday.

Appointed in 2016 as the union minister of state for HRD in the previous Modi government, Pandey had resigned in August 2017 and given charge of the state which sends 80 parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha.

Just before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Pandey’s brother, Jitendra Nath Pandey’s daughter-in-law Amruta, had joined the Congress after a closed-door meeting with Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress in-charge of eastern UP.

Pandey won against Samajwadi Party candidate Sanjay Singh Chauhan with close to 14,000 votes. A Brahmin face of the BJP in UP along with deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma, Pandey’s induction in the Modi government is being viewed as an attempt to connect with the influential upper castes who comprise 9% of the voters in UP.

DV Sadananda Gowda 

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to repose its faith in DV Sadananda Gowda, 66, came as a surprise to many political observers in Karnataka. The former chief minister of Karnataka was shunted from ministry to ministry in the Narendra Modi government’s first term. Gowda was first elected to the Karnataka assembly in 1994 and re-elected in 1999. In 2004, he successfully contested the Mangalore seat against senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily.

In 2009, Gowda, a Vokkaliga leader from the coastal region of the state, won the Lok Sabha election from the Udupi-Chickamagaluru seat. Two years later, he was made chief minister of Karnataka.

This stint as CM did not last long as Gowda had to step down just a year later. However, he was rewarded for his unwavering commitment to the BJP in 2014, after he won the Lok Sabha election again from Bangalore North, and handed the prized railways portfolio. He was shifted out within six months and made minister for law. This, too, did not last long; he was shifted to the statistics ministry.

Thawaarchand Gehlot 

Thaawarchand Gehlot, 71, a prominent Dalit face of the Bharatiya Janata Party, will be part of the Narendra Modi cabinet for a second consecutive term. Gehlot was appointed as the minister of social justice and empowerment in 2014. As a minister, he scripted several schemes for the welfare of the deprived sections of the society as well as for the physically-challenged. His ministry’s Transgender (Protection of Rights) bill, however, saw protests from several sections of the community for its proposed introduction of a committee that would screen persons.

Born in Rupeta village in Nagda tehsil of Ujjain district on May 18, 1948, Gehlot graduated from Vikram University, Ujjain.

Giriraj Singh 

Born in Bihar’s Lakhisarai district, 66-year-old Giriraj Singh won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Bihar’s Begusarai by defeating Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union’s (JNUSU) former president and Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate Kanhaiya Kumar by over 420,000 votes.

He first became a member of Parliament in 2014 from Nawada and was appointed the minister of state (independent charge) for micro, small and medium enterprises in the first Narendra Modi government.

When Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over Modi’s prime ministerial candidature candidate in 2013, Giriraj was among the 11 ministers that were dropped from the Bihar cabinet.

Singh triggered a political controversy on April 18, 2014 when he said during a public address that those opposing Modi have no place in India and should instead move to Pakistan. In October-November 2016, he was embroiled in another controversy when he urged Hindus to produce more children to increase their population.

During the Lok Sabha campaign, the Election Commission issued Singh a notice for allegedly seeking votes on communal lines. He had said those who couldn’t chant Vande Mataram would never be forgiven by Indians.

Shripad Yesso Naik 

Five-time Member of Parliament from North Goa, Shripad Naik, 66, defeated Goa state Congress president Girish Chodankar, a first-time candidate, by a margin of 80,000 votes. He had won by an even bigger margin of 100,000 votes in 2014. Naik served as union minister of state with independent charge for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Sidda and Homeopathy (AYUSH) ministry, for much of the term of the previous Narendra Modi-led government. This time around too, he was sworn in as a minister of state. Naik, who was first elected as an MP in 1999.

Ramesh Pokhriyal 

Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, who will be turning 60 on July 15, has been elected from the Hardwar Lok Sabha constituency for the second time. At the age of 50, he became the fifth and the youngest chief minister of Uttarakhand in 2009 and held the position until 2011.

Pokhriyal won the election to the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly three times in a row in 1991, 1993 and 1996 from Karanprayag, when Uttarakhand was still a part of Uttar Pradesh.

He was cabinet minister for hill development in 1997 and in 1998 became UP’s culture minister.

Pokhriyal won the Haridwar seat with a margin of 258,729 votes over Congress candidate Ambrish Kumar. He has written several poems, novels and short stories and has other literary works to his credit. His wife, Kusum Kanta Pokhriyal, passed away in 2012. He has three daughters.

Rao Inderjit Singh 

Rao Inderjit Singh has been elected to the Lok Sabha for the fifth time. The 69-year-old leader won from Gurugram constituency for the second consecutive time this year.

Initially a Congressman, he switched to the BJP in 2014 and won the Gurugram seat. He was minister of state of chemicals and fertilizers with independent charge in the fist Modi government. Hailing from south Haryana, Singh was MLA for four terms starting 1977, and held cabinet rank in the state government before being elected to the Lok Sabha in 1998 on a Congress ticket. He was Congress MP for two more terms from Mahendergarh-Bhiwani seat before he quit the party in 2014.

A descendant of Rao Tula Ram, a freedom fighter in India’s first war of independence in 1857, Singh is an avid golfer, swimmer and tennis player. He was a member of the Indian shooting team from 1990-2003.

Kiren Rijiju 

One of the most prominent faces of Narendra Modi’s first cabinet, Kiren Rijiju was selected as a minister of state with independent charge in the new Lok Sabha sworn in on Thursday.

The 47-year-old parliamentarian from Arunachal West was the union minister of state for Home Affairs in the previous cabinet.

Rijiju defeated former chief minister and Congress veteran Nabam Tuki by a margin of 174,000 votes.

An alumnus of Hansraj College, Delhi and Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, Delhi University, Rijiju was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009.

He has had his own share of controversies. In 2016, Satish Verma, the then chief vigilance officer of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation gave report alleging corruption in the 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project, a big-ticket project in Rijiju’s constituency. Rijiju was accused of helping his cousin Goboi Rijiju, one of the sub-contractors in the project. The minister had rejected the allegations.

He served as a member of Khadi and Village Industries Commission from 2000 to 2005 when he was only 29.

Gajendra Shekhawat 

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, 51, emerged as a giant killer in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, defeating Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot by 270,440 votes.

Gajju Bana, as he is popularly known, started his political career in student politics when he was elected in 1992 as president of the students’ union of Jai Narayan Vyas University in Jodhpur as an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) candidate.

In 2014, he got elected to the Lok Sabha when he defeated the Congress’s Chandresh Kumari by more than 400,000 votes.

In September 2017, he was inducted into the Union cabinet as junior agriculture minister. Before the 2018 assembly elections, the BJP central leadership wanted him to head the party’s state unit, but the suggestion was opposed by then chief minister Vasundhara Raje, leading to OBC leader Madan Lal Saini being made the state party president. A sports enthusiast, Shekhawat has had a long association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and is considered an emerging Rajput leader of the state.

RK Singh 

Bureaucrat-turned-politician R K Singh will be a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet again. The former Indian Administrative Services officer who was a minister of state in the power ministry in the 2014 Lok Sabha contested and won from Arrah, in Bihar. This time around, he has been sworn in as a cabinet minister.

Known as a tough bureaucrat, Singh shot into the limelight when on October 30, 1990, he ordered the arrest of Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart Lal Krishna Advani, when the veteran leader’s Rath Yatra was on its way to Ayodhya from Somnath, Gujarat.

At the time, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was the chief minister of Bihar. Singh was the then district magistrate of Samastipur. Singh has also served as the Union home secretary from 2011 to 2013.

A graduate in English literature, Singh also holds a law degree. When Nitish Kumar became Bihar chief minister in 2005, Singh, was made principal secretary and was instrumental in improving the road network in the state.

Hardeep Puri 

A former India diplomat with roots in Delhi, Hardeep Puri, 66, was Union Minister for housing and urban affairs in the previous Modi government.

A former Indian diplomat and a 1974-batch Indian Foreign Services (IFS) officer, Puri has found his place in Modi’s council of ministers because of his successful track record, say party insiders. He is a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh and his term is set to expire on November 2020. Puri has over 39 years of experience as an ambassador and had held Ambassadorl-level assignments in London and Brasilia and served as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in Geneva and New York. Puri’s wife Lakshmi Puri is also a retired IFS officer and has authored several books.

A close confident of senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, Puri joined the BJP before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), during his student days in Delhi.

Dr Jitendra Singh 

Dr Jitendra Singh, 62, the Bharatiya Janata Party winner from Udhampur-Doda, defeated Vikramaditya Singh of the Congress by a margin of over 350,000 votes.

A diabetologist, who earned his doctor’s degree from Stanley Medical College in Chennai, Singh was the chief spokesman of Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party before being elected to the 16th Lok Sabha.

In the previous government, Singh was a minister of state for the Prime Minister’s Office. This time around too, he has been sworn in as minister of state with an independent charge.

He shot to light in 2008, over the land row agitation that lasted 61 days, at a time when the atmosphere became extremely polarized. During the turmoil, Singh, a good orator, emerged as a prominent voice of Jammu.

An author of eight books and a newspaper columnist, he often blames National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party leaders for the political situation of the state.

After the suicide attack in Pulwama, in which 44 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed, a war of words between National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Singh erupted. Singh called politicians from Kashmir “apologists” and Abdullah reacted saying no one should play politics over dead and injured soldiers. The war of words continued over social media platform, Twitter. However, Singh’s younger brother Devender Singh Rana is a close confidant of National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah, who won from Srinagar in the recent general elections, as well as his son Omar Abdullah.

Earlier, he had also said “studios” have been set up in Pakistan to promote propaganda but the Centre is taking effective steps to counter them.

Arjun Munda 

A three-time chief minister of Jharkhand, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Arjun Munda is considered one of the most prominent tribal leaders in the state. The 51-year-old won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Khunti constituency by defeating Congress’s Kalicharan Munda by 1,445 votes.

An avid golfer, Munda began his political career in the early 1980s as a member of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and joined the movement for the creation of a separate state for tribals from the southern regions of Bihar.

He won the 1995 assembly elections held in the then undivided Bihar on a JMM ticket but joined the BJP in 2000.

In 2003, the then 35-year-old Munda, who comes from a family of farmers, became Jharkhand’s chief minister for the first time. He was elected to the Parliament in the 2009 general elections from Jamshedpur.

 

 

 

First Published: May 31, 2019 01:13 IST

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