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PM Modi’s new cabinet a balance of veterans and fresh faces

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed a good balance by inducting several new faces like that of Amit Shah and S. Jaishnakar in his cabinet while retaining several experienced hands in his council of ministers took oath on Thursday. However, some prominent and well-performing names like Sushma Swaraj and J.P. Nadda were missing from Modi’s team.

A total of 58 ministers — 25 cabinet ministers and 33 ministers of state — took oath of secrecy on Thursday at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Sushma Swaraj, who had served as external affairs minister (EAM) in Modi government between 2014 to 2019 and was one of the most popular ministers on social media for her quick response to Indians in distress, had opted out of contesting Lok Sabha elections this year but was seen as a front runner for the EAM post once again through the Rajya Sabha route. Her exit from team Modi came as a major surprise.

Similarly, former health minister J.P. Nadda and minister for commerce Suresh Prabhu were other prominent names missing along with former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who had opted out of the government due to poor health.

At the same time, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar were among the prominent new entrants in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that took oath on Thursday for the 17th Lok Sabha. While entry of Mr Shah was on expected lines, particularly after former finance minister Arun Jaitley opted out of the race for cabinet ministers due to poor health, Mr Jaishankar’s entry was a major surprise element.

Prime Minister Modi has inducted several new faces in his cabinet, particularly in the Minister of State rank, reflecting party’s strength in different states. Among the others who made it for the first time in PM Modi’s Cabinet, some as union ministers and some as minister of state, were some party chiefs in the state and former chief ministers. These included former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, former chief Minister of Jharkhand Arjun Munda, Bihar state party president Nityanand Rai, former minister in Haryana Ratanlal Kataria,  General Secretary of West Bengal State Unit of BJP Deboshree Choudhary.

Prahlad Joshi (Karnataka) , Renuka Singh Saruta (Chhattisgarh), Som Prakash (Punjab), Rameshwar Teli (Assam), Pratap Chandra Sarangi (Orissa), Kailsah Chaudhury (Rajasthan). Kerala BJP leader V. Muraleedharan too made an entry and will serve as the 3rd BJP minister from the state after O Rajagopal and K. Alphonse.

Prahlad Singh Patel, who was minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was inducted in the union Cabinet.

Raosaheb Patil Danve, president of Maharashtra BJP and BJP leader from Telangana G. Kishan Reddy, made a re-entry after both having served the Modi government between 2014-15.

Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena was a fresh face even as Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar made it clear that his party though will remain in alliance with BJP in Bihar, it will not take part in the government.

Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, head of BJP’s unit in Uttar Pradesh, made a re-entry in the union cabinet after having served in Mr Modi’s government as MoS Human Resource Development in 2016-17. Similarly,

Among the prominent BJP leaders who did not find a place in the Cabinet that was sworn-in on Thursday included former health minister JP Nadda, EAM Sushma Swaraj, MoS Health Anupriya Patel, MoS Information and Broadcasting  (Independent charge) Rajyavardhan Rathore, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Suresh Prabhu, Jual Oram, Radha Mohan Singh, Chaudhary Birendra Singh, Anant Geete, K. Alphons, Satya Pal Singh, Mahesh Sharma, Vijay Goel, Radhakrishnan P., S.S. Ahluwalia, Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, Vishnu Deo Sai, Ram Kripal Yadav, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, Rajen Gohain, Krishan Pal, Jaswantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Sudarshan Bhagat, Dr. Virendra Kumar, Anantkumar Hegde, Jayant Sinha, Vijay Sampla, Ajay Tamta, Krishna Raj, C.R. Chaudhary, P.P. Chaudhary and Subhash Ramrao Bhamre. All these had served as ministers in Modi-government when the country went for general elections this year.

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