After Union Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and R C P Singh resigned from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet on Wednesday, their portfolios were handed over to Smriti Irani and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Irani will take over the minority affairs ministry from Naqvi, while Scindia will be in charge of the steel ministry. Irani is already the Union Woman and Child Development minister and Scindia is the Civil Aviation minister. Both Scindia and Irani have been given charge of additional portfolios as Naqvi and Singh resigned as their tenure in Rajya Sabha came to an end.
Earlier, PM Modi heaped praises on both the outgoing union ministers for their contribution to the nation in their respective roles.
After accepting the resignations of Naqvi and Singh, President Ram Nath Kovind assigned the minority affairs ministry to Smriti Irani and the steel ministry to Jyotiraditya Scindia, in addition to their existing portfolios.
On July 2021, the Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi expanded its council of ministers, the first such exercise in the third year of his second term. While the cabinet reshuffle was on the cards for a long time, the move comes at a time when the Modi government faces criticism over the alleged mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The list of ministers also indicates that due attention has been given to upcoming assembly elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Yesterday, two major political developments took place which indicated that the BJP has started preparing for the polls besides appeasing its allies. In the first development, Thawar Chand Gehlot was appointed Governor of Karnataka to make more space for new ministers. Later in the day, a new ministry was created – the Ministry of Cooperation.
The focus has been on Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. Uttar Pradesh is the most crucial state for the BJP given the number of Lok Sabha seats. The inclusion of the allies like JD(U), Apna Dal etc. indicates that the Modi government is not willing to let go more of its allies since two of its major partners – Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal had already deserted the NDA over different issues. The move will boost the confidence of its allies and the same will prove beneficial for the saffron party in the coming polls.
In a major development just ahead of the cabinet expansion, 11 union ministers – Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Animal and Husbandry Minister Pratap Sarangi, Women and Child Welfare Minister Debasree Chaudhuri and Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre, Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, MoS Jal Shakti and Social Justice and Empowerment Ratan Lal Kataria, Asansol MP and MoS Environment, Forest & Climate Babul Supriyo, and MoS Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Choubey have resigned from their respective posts. The move was aimed at making space for new faces besides setting right the political equations ahead of the crucial polls.
Below is the full list of new ministers in Modi Cabinet:
Jyotiraditya Scindia : Civil Aviation, Steel Ministry
Smriti Irani – Woman and Child Development, Minority Affairs
Narayan Rane – Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
Sarbananda Sonowal : Ports and Shipping, AYUSH Ministry.
Dr Virendra Kumar
Ashwini Vaishnav : Railways, Communication & Electronics and Information Technology.
Pashu Pati Kumar Paras: Minister of Food Processing Industries.
Kiren Rijiju : Law and Justice Ministry.
Dharmendra Pradhan : Education Ministry.
Raj Kumar Singh : Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Hardeep Singh Puri : Petroleum, Housing and Urban Development.
Mansukh Mandaviya : Chemicals and Fertilizers, Health Ministry.
G Kishen Reddy
Anurag Thakur : Information & Broadcasting and Sports.
Ministers of State
Anupriya Singh Patel
Satya Pal Singh Baghel
Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma
Darshana Vikram Jardosh
Kapil Moreshwar Patil
Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad
Rajkumar Ranjan Singh
Bharati Pravin Pawar
Dr Munjapara Mahendrabhai
Dr L Murugan
Virendra Kumar, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Pankaj Choudhary, SPS Baghel, Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, Darshana Jardosh, Annpurna Devi, AR Narayana Swami, Kaushal Kishor, BL Verma, Ajay Kumar, Pratima Bhoumik, Bhagwant Khuba, Subhash Sarkar, Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad, Bharti Pawar, John Barla and Nishit Pramanik were also among those who met Modi in the morning. This is the first reshuffle in PM Modi’s Council of Ministers since he assumed charge for a second term in May 2019.