With 21 new faces inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi Council of Ministers on Sunday, the strength of his team now stands at 66. This is the first expansion since Modi took oath with 45 ministers on May 26.
Among those inducted, four hold Cabinet berths, three are Ministers of State with independent charge and 14 are Ministers of State. Former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, BJP leaders JP Nadda, Chaudhury Birender Singh and Shiv Sena’s Suresh Prabhu took oath as Cabinet ministers. Prabhu was sworn in under the BJP quota.
The present induction also contradicts Modi’s mantra of “more governance and less government”.
Bandaru Dattatreya, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Dr Mahesh Sharma took oath as Minister of State with independent charge.
There are three new ministers of state with independent charge, including prominent BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy and the BJP’s single MP from new state Telangana Bandaru Dattatreya. And there are 14 ministers of state or junior ministers, bringing the total strength of Team Modi to 66.
Mr. Parrikar, an IIT Bombay graduate is tipped to take over as India’s next Defence Minister, though there has been buzz that he could be given charge of the Home Ministry, with Home Minister Rajnath Singh moving to Defence. Jayant Sinha, son of former Finance minister Yashwant sinha, has studied at IIT, Delhi and at Harvard in the US.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has been sworn in as minister of state – no change from his rank in the last BJP-led government 10 years ago under Atal Behari Vajpayee has prime minister.
In the selection, there is the distinct stamp of the RSS – many of the new ministers, including Mr. Parrikar and Mr Nadda, have deep roots in the BJP’s ideological mentor.
There is also a strategic focus on balancing regional aspirations, especially with an eye on forthcoming must-win state elections for the BJP. So Bihar, which votes next year, gets three new minsters. Apart from Mr. Rudy, there is Ram Kirpal Yadav, imported from Lalu Prasad’s party, and who is crucial to the BJPs plan of making inroads into the influential Yadav vote in Bihar.
Giriraj Singh, who made controversial comments earlier this year, but represents the powerful Bhumihar community, is also a new minister.
Olympian shooter and former army officer Rajyavardhan Rathore has also joined as a minister of state. Mr. Rathore, 44, won a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics; it was India’s first individual medal in 100 years.
List of newly-inducted ministers
- Manohar Parrikar
- JP Nadda
- Suresh Prabhu
- Chaudhury Birender Singh
Minister of State (Independent charge):
- Rajiv Pratap Rudy
- Bandaru Dattatreya
- Dr Mahesh Sharma
Minister of State:
- Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
- Giriraj Singh
- Babul Supriyo
- Jayant Sinha
- YS Chowdary
- Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
- Mohanbhai Kundaria
- Ram Kripal Yadav
- Sanwar Lal Jat
- Hansraj Gangaram Ahir
- Vijay Sampla
- Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti
- Ram Shankar Katheriya
- Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhury