NEW DELHI: While India’s cricket captain Virat Kohli made the beard a fashion statement in recent times, the trend seems to have caught on in Parliament as well. Not less than 18 leaders with healthy stubbles have made it to the newly sworn-in council of ministers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I couldn’t resist counting the men with beards making it to the council of ministers from the front row in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. From the PM to Amit Shah, my count was 18, with ministers boasting rich harvest of beard to stubble with a few,” said a top-ranking BJP leader.
The PM is known to be fashion conscious, with a white beard being a distinctive feature.
“Sporting beard couldn't be a qualification to gain a place in the council of ministers. But 18 out of 58, which includes six women, makes one wonder if beard is indeed a fashion statement of the Modi government,” added the leader.
Besides Modi and Shah, Cabinet ministers —Prakash Javadekar, Ram Vilas Paswan, S Jaishankar, Giriraj Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi — are among the bearded members of the government.
Among junior ministers, Anurag Thakur, Ashwani Choube, Krishan Pal, Ramdas Athavale, Babul Supriyo, Parshottam Rupala sport beards.
The BJP leaders are also wondering that Jaishankar was made a Cabinet minister without being given party membership.
“Only Modi could have taken such a decision, else it’s expected that a person joining the Cabinet is first made BJP member,” said the leader.