India prime minister Narendra Modi expands cabinet: 43 ministers take oath
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo by MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi effected a major cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday (7) whereby some prominent names were brought into the government at the expense of some big names. Former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane and heavyweight leader from the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, were inducted as cabinet ministers.
As many as 43 leaders took oath as ministers in the revamped cabinet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. Of them, 36 were new faces while seven were elevated.
On the other hand, 12 serving ministers, including health minister Harsh Vardhan, information technology and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, environment minister Prakash Javadekar and others were dropped.
Thirteen of the new members took oath in Hindi while two in English. Rane was the first to take the oath. He was followed by Sonowal, who has served as a central minister earlier, and Scindia, who has been a junior minister in the previous United Progressive Alliance led by the Indian National Congress.
Besides them, Lok Sabha member from Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Virendra Kumar; Rajya Sabha member from eastern state Odisha Ashwini Vaishnaw; Rajya Sabha member from eastern state Bihar and Janata Dal (United) RCP Singh and Lok Sabha member from Bihar and Lok Janshakti Party leader Pashupati Kumar Paras were also sworn in as cabinet ministers.
Kiren Rijiju, Hardeep Singh Puri, Mansukh Mandaviya, G Kishan Reddy, Anurag Thakur, RK Singh and Parshottam Rupala were elevated to the cabinet level. Bhupendra Yadav, who has been serving in the BJP as a general secretary, was also made a cabinet minister.
This was the first reshuffle in the council of ministers by Modi after he became the prime minister for the second time in 2019 and it happened before a number of states go to elections before the national elections of 2024. The latest expansion of the cabinet was necessitated by the vacancies caused due to death of Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan and exit of a few of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance partners like the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal.