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Photos: Ashwini Choubey, Uttarakhand flashflood survivor, takes over amid mantras

Ashwini Kumar Choubey took over as the minister of state for health in New Delhi on Monday. Here are photos of the event:

india Updated: Sep 05, 2017 10:30 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Ashwini Choubey,Cabinet reshuffle,Council of ministers
Ashwini Kumar Choubey took over as the minister of state for health in New Delhi on Monday.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

The air on the second floor office of the Nirman Bhawan in Delhi was full of chants of hymns and blowing of conch shells when Ashwini Kumar Choubey assumed charge as the minister of state for health.

With a photograph of Goddess Durga on his table, Choubey -- a Brahmin face from Bihar in the Narendra Modi-led government – took over as four priests performed rituals and sprinkled water from the Ganga – considered holy by the Hindus.

Choubey’s family members and friends who spoke to Hindustan Times said his belief in god went up several notches after he survived the 2013 flash floods and landslide following cloudburst in Uttarakhand that led to massive destruction and loss of thousands of lives.

Choubey, who was then inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Kedarnath temple, had a providential escape, as he lay unconscious there. He lost three family members — brother-in-law, his wife and a nephew. Their family priest and his security personnel also died in the floods along with scores of other pilgrims.

Choubey was stranded inside the Kedarnath temple for nearly two days on June 16 and 17, 2013, without food and water.

Recounting his horror after his return to Patna, Choubey had said that it was at the behest of the then BJP national president Rajnath Singh that a rescue team airlifted his family and him to Delhi.

Like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Choubey, too, fasts all through the nine-day long Navratri (Dussehra festival) during which he worships 4-5 hours a day.

Later, talking to reporters at his office on Monday, Choubey said, as a health minister, his endeavour would be to ensure that every single person in India was disease-free and happy.

With inputs from New Delhi

First Published: Sep 05, 2017 10:30 IST