NEW DELHI: In the third cabinet expansion in three years of the Modi government, four cabinet ministers and nine ministers of state were sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Among the four cabinet ministers, who got a promotion, include Dharmendra Pradhan, who held the petroleum portfolio, Piyush Goyal, who held the power and coal portfolio, Nirmala Sitharaman, who held the commerce portfolio and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who was looking after the minority affairs ministry.
All the nine ministers of state are new faces and include Shiv Pratap Shukla, a BJP member of the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, Ashwini Kumar Choube, a BJP Lok Sabha MP from Bihar, Virendra Kumar, BJP Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh, Anantkumar Hegde, BJP Lok Sabha member from Karnataka, RK Singh, former IAS officer and BJP Lok Sabha member from Bihar, Hardeep Puri, former IFS officer, GS Shekhawat, BJP Lok Sabha member from Rajasthan, Satyapal Singh, former IPS officer and BJP Lok Sabha member from UP, and KJ Alphons, former IAS officer.
The reshuffle was an all BJP affair as no allies like the JD-U, Shiv Sena or even the AIADMK found a berth in the Modi cabinet, much against the speculation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were present on the occasion among the other senior members of the cabinet. The leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad was also present.
While the promotion for four cabinet ministers came as a reward for their performance, the new ministers of state are a mix of party leaders and former professionals, who will bring their domain expertise on the table.
The portfolios for the new ministers will be announced later in the day.
The reshuffle will help PM Modi prepare a new team for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as most of the junior ministers come from the Hindi speaking areas, considered to be the stronghold of the BJP.