NDA 2.0: Shah Gets Home, Rajnath Defence
Expectedly, former foreign secretary S Jaishankar has been given the coveted External Affairs portfolio which was held by Sushma Swaraj who is out of the government after she opted out of the electoral race.
Sitharaman, who was Defence Minister in the previous government, steps into the shoes of Arun Jaitley under whom she had served as Minister of State for Finance for sometime before she was made Commerce Minister with Independent Charge in the earlier years of the Modi government. She has also now been given charge of Corporate Affairs Ministry.
The portfolios were disclosed in a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique ahead of the first meeting of the Council of Ministers in the evening.
Shah, with a reputation of having delivered successive victories in elections topped by the massive majority secured in the Lok Sabha polls, was widely expected to land an important portfolio which has resulted in the shifting of Rajnath Singh, a former party president, to Defence.
The four occupants of the North and South Blocks comprising Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs, are expected to be part of the prestigious Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) along with the Prime Minister.
Another heavyweight and a former party president Nitin Gadkari retained the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and has been given the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in addition.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, re-elected from Rajasthan and promoted as a cabinet minister, has been put in charge of the newly-created Jal Shakti Ministry, about which the Prime Minister had spoken during the election campaign. It has been created by reorganising the earlier Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, which was held by Gadkari in the previous government, and the addition of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to it.
D V Sadananda Gowda, elected from Bangalore North and hailing from the dominant Vokkaliga community, has been given Chemicals and Fertilisers, a portfolio that was held for long by H N Ananthkumar, also from Karnataka, who died last year.
The new minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare will be Narendra Singh Tomar, who has come in the place of Radha Mohan Singh, who has been dropped. Tomar will also look after Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, who has now become a Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib after defeating Shatrughan Sinha, will continue to hold Law and Justice, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology ministries.
Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, now elected from Haridwar, has been made the new Human Resource Development Minister from where Prakash Javadekar has been shifted to Information and Broadcasting. Javadekar has also been given Environment and Forest where he had worked as a Minister of State with Independent Charge before he came to HRD.
Smriti Irani, called the ‘giant killer’ after her victory over Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, has been put in charge of Women and Child Development, held till now by Maneka Gandhi, who has been dropped. Irani also retained Textiles, which he had held earlier in the outgoing government.
Piyush Goyal has retained Railways and has been given charge of Commerce and Industry which was held by Suresh Prabhu, who has been dropped.
Harsh Vardhan has been given Health and Family Welfare, which he had held in the initial years of the Modi government. In addition, he retained Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, which he held in the previous government.
New Minister Pralhad Joshi, a third-term member from Dharwad in Karnataka, has been given Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines ministries, while Mahendra Nath Pandey has been put in charge of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Former Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda, who belongs to a tribal community, has been put in charge of Tribal Affairs.
The ministers who retained their portfolios from the earlier government are Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Minority Affairs), Thaawar Chand Gehlot (Social Justice and Empowerment), and Dharmendra Pradhan (Petroleum and Natural Gas) in addition to Steel.
The BJP allies who have joined the government have been given the same portfolios the parties had in the earlier government. Ram Vilas Paswan of LJSP got to retain Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, while Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal retained Food Processing Industries with an elevated rank as a cabinet minister. Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena, who replaced Anant Geete, who lost the elections, has got Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise held by Geete earlier.
Giriraj Singh, who defeated Kanhaiya Kumar of CPI in Begusarai, has been given the newly-created Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, about which also Modi had spoken during elections.
In the Ministers of State (Independent Charge) category, veteran parliamentarian Santosh Gangwar retained Labour and Employment; Shripad Naik retained AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) besides being put as MoS in the Defence Ministry.
Jitendra Singh, another MoS with Independent Charge, will continue to be in the Ministry of DoNER, PMO, Personal, Public Grievances and Pensions, and Atomic Energy and Space.
Kiren Rijiju, who was MoS Home in the earlier government, has now been given Independent Charge of Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry and will be MoS in Minority Affairs.
Rao Inderjit Singh has been put in charge of Planning, Statistics and Programme Implementation, while Hardeep Puri, who lost from Amritsar, got to retain the Housing and Urban Affairs in addition to Civil Aviation as MoS Independent Charge. He will be MoS in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Bureaucrat-turned-politician RK Singh will continue to hold Power and New and Renewable Energy ministries as MoS Independent Charge and will be MoS in Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
Mansukh L Mandaviya will be MoS with Independent Charge in Shipping Ministry and will be MoS in Chemicals and Fertilisers ministry.
Debutant Prahalad Singh Patel will be MoS with Independent Charge in the Ministries of Culture and Tourism.