Modi's 'jumbo' cabinet rejig: Who got out and who came in

NEW DELHI: After days of speculation and protracted media hype the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet facelift finally happened with the swearing-in ceremony of the Union council of ministers in the Darbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan today. 

In the first major reshuffle since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, fifteen Cabinet ministers and 28 Ministers of State (MoS), comprising new faces and those promoted from junior ministers, were sworn in the Council of Ministers led by Modi.

With a total tally of 78 ministers with nearly 36 new ones, it's now a jumbo cabinet that can have 81 members. Interestingly with seven more women members, the overall female strength in the cabinet is 11 which is one of the highest.

Facing flak for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, soaring prices of essentials including retail petroleum prices, losing West Bengal elections and with an eye to improving its image before the elections due in several states the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has tried to accommodate several of its partners from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) alliance.

Let's look at who made it to the list of ministers and who had to exit. There are12 ministers who have been dropped, and among the big names who were asked to resign were the health minister who had to face the highest criticism, Dr Harsh Vardhan followed by Ravi Shankar Prasad who was the minister for law and electronics and IT and was locked in a bitter row with Twitter over new IT rules and environment minister Prakash Javadekar who was the government's spokesperson. 

The others who were dropped include D V Sadananda Gowda who was minister for chemicals and fertilizer, Thawarchand Gehlot (Although he has been named as Governor of Karnataka), education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Sanjay Dhotre, minister of state for women and child development, labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Rattan Lal Kataria, Shri Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Sushri Debasree Chaudhuri and Babul Supriyo who was minister for environment, forest and climate change. 

Interestingly Supriyo posted social media posts that he had been asked to resign, but then issued a clarification. In a tweet, Supriyo said: “Yes, I have resigned from the Council Of Ministers (As I had framed it earlier, “Asked to resign” may not be the right way to put it )…” In a series of tweets, he said he was “surely sad” for himself, but happy for his colleagues who would be sworn in later on Wednesday.

Among those who got in as ministers include, strong man from the Konkan belt in Maharashtra Narayan Tatu Rane, Jyotiraditya M Scindia, former Congress youth leader who had defected to BJP along with his followers leading to the collapse of Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, former chief minister of Assam - Sarbananda Sonowal, Virendra Kumar -7 times Member of Parliament from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, the national president of Janata Dal (United) - Ramchandra Prasad Singh, former IAS Ashwini Vaishnaw, Pashupati Kumar Paras who is the President of the Lok Janshakti Party against the claim of his nephew Chirag Paswan.

Those who were either ministers or MoS and now promoted include Kiren Rijiju, Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Mansukh Mandaviya, Bhupender Yadav, Parshottam Rupala, G Kishan Reddy and Anurag Singh Thakur.

Tho who were inducted as MoS include, Pankaj Choudhary, Anupriya Singh Patel, Dr Satya Pal Singh Baghel, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Sushri Shobha Karandlaje, Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Meenakshi Lekhi, Annpurna Devi, A Narayanaswamy, Kaushal Kishore, Ajay Bhatt, B L Verma, Ajay Kumar, Chauhan Devusinh, Bhagwanth Khuba, Kapil Moreshwar Patil, Sushri Pratima Bhoumik, Dr Subhas Sarkar, Dr Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad, Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Bishweswar Tudu, Shantanu Thakur, Dr Munjapara Mahendrabhai, John Barla, Dr L Murugan and Nisith Pramanik.


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