Modi's first-time ministers: Portfolios and all you need to know about them

Infusing 20 new faces, the PM is banking on first-timers for excellence in governance.   

Published: 31st May 2019 10:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st May 2019 01:44 PM   |  A+A-

Various NDA leaders take oath at the the Rashtrapati Bhawan. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

Amit Shah (BJP) (Home)

Amit Shah has been the president of the BJP since 2014 and a Rajya Sabha MP from 2017 to 2019. He contested the 2019 polls from Gandhinagar replacing BJP veteran LK Advani. Shah was first elected from Gujarat Assembly in 1997 after he won a by-election in Sarkhej. He held the seat till 2008 and later was elected to the Assembly seat from Naranpura from 2012-17. He is considered to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had held important portfolios in the Gujarat government when Modi was the chief minister. Shah has been credited for winning election after election — national and Assembly —in various states. Following the BJP’s big victory in the 2019 elections, he was widely touted to join the Cabinet.

Arjun Munda (BJP) (Tribal Affairs)

Arjun Munda, 46, defeated Congress candidate to win Khunti Lok Sabha seat, earlier represented by Karia Munda. A three-time CM of Jharkhand, Munda is one of the leading tribal faces in the state, who started his political career with the JMM. He became Kharsawan MLA from Jamshedpur for the first time in 1995. After the BJP-led NDA granted statehood to Jharkhand on November 15, 2000, Munda joined the BJP and won Kharsawan Assembly seat again in 2000. He was entrusted with the Tribal Welfare Ministry in the first NDA government but his crisis management skills helped him become CM at age 35. He was tasked to ward off the divisive domicile politics of Babulal Marandi and became CM again in 2005 and 2010.

Ramesh Pokhriyal (BJP) (Human Resource Development)

Ramesh Pokhariyal ‘Nishank’, 59, who won from Haridwar in Uttarakhand is the son of a gardener from Pinani village in Pauri Garhwal. He completed post graduation in Arts from Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Srinagar. Before taking the political plunge in 1982, Nishank was a teacher in Shishu Mandir, Dehradun. After joining BJP, he won the Karnaprayag assembly seat of undivided UP in 1991 and twice again in 1993 and 1996. Among all BJP leaders, Nishank is the only one to have completed three terms as MLA. When Uttarakhand was carved in 2000, he became a cabinet minister and was CM from 2009 to 2011. In 2014, he contested from Haridwar and won with a record margin of 2.58 lakh votes.

S Jaishankar (External Affairs)

Jaishankar is a former diplomat who served as the foreign secretary from January 2015 to January 2018. He has previously served as the Indian ambassador to the USA, China, Czech Republic and High Commissioner to Singapore. Jaishankar played an important role in negotiating the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. He also orchestrated relief works following the 2004 Tsunami. Upon superannuation, he joined Tata Sons and in 2019, was conferred with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award. A 1977-batch IFS officer, Jaishankar played a key role in resolving the crisis following the incursion in Ladakh’s Depsang and the Doklam stand-off, handling the tough negotiations with Beijing. 

Pralhad Joshi (BJP) (Parliamentary Affairs, Coal, Mines)

Pralhad Joshi, 56, won a fourth consecutive term from Dharwad in Karnataka in 2019. He won with one of the highest winning margins in the 28 constituencies of Karnataka. He shot to fame in the Hubli flag controversy. On August 15, 1994, when BJP leader Uma Bharti led a group of people in an attempt to hoist the national flag at the Idgah Maidan in Karnataka’s Hubli, defying the prohibitory orders, Joshi was among the leaders who accompanied her. Ten people died in the violence and the police firing that followed. He is considered to be closely linked to the RSS. Before being sworn in, the Karnataka BJP leader was being considered for the post of LS Speaker as the BJP felt appointing him to the post would send positive signals in the south.

Anurag Thakur (BJP) (Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs)

A four-time MP from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, Anurag is a third term National President of BJYM, the youth wing of the BJP. In Parliament, he had served as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT and as Member of Public Accounts Committee. He was also the member of Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Forum of WTO, a recipient of the Best Young Parliamentarian Award in 2011 and recognized as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. Anurag was also the president of the BCCI. At the age of 25, he was elected as president of the HPCA becoming the youngest person to head a state cricket association. He is the son of former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) (Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise)

Born on 31 December 1951 in Sindhudurg, the 67-year-old Shiv Sena leader who was elected from the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency for the second time, defeating Milind Deora, has grown from a school teacher to a Union minister. He participated in agitation at Belgaon where his leadership qualities were first noticed. Sawant took voluntary retirement from MTNL in 1995 and was elected member of legislative council the next year. He was nominated again in 2010 and was a candidate for the Lok Sabha in 2014.  Known for his academic bent, he is the party’s deputy leader.

Prahlad Patel (BJP) (Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism and Culture)

Born on June 28, 1960 in Narsinghpur district of MP, 58-year-old Prahlad Singh Patel is a five-term MP who has represented Balaghat, Seoni and Damoh constituencies. A lawyer by profession, Patel, a former close confidant of Uma Bharti, is the firebrand OBC face of the party. He won the 2014 and 2019 polls by convincing margins. In 2005, he quit the BJP along with Bharti and became part of her Bhartiya Janshakti Party, but soon returned to BJP fold in 2009. It will be the second time that he will be a minister, as he was a MoS in the Vajpayee-led government.

Pratap Sarangi (BJP) (Minister of State for MSME, Animal Husbandry, Dairy, Fisheries) 

Pratap Chandra Sarangi, 64, is known for his humble background and frugal lifestyle and is adored by the masses for his service and honesty. Sarangi a former two-time MLA is great orator and can speak fluent Odia and Sanskrit.  He is popular among the masses for riding around the villages in a bicycle. He beat all odds and won the election from Balasore in Odisha against two of the richest candidates in the state – Congress’ Nabajyoti Patnaik and BJD’s Rabindra Kumar Jena. Sarangi has been a two-time MLA from Nilagiri seat (in Balasore) as an Independent.

Kishan Reddy (BJP) (Minister of State for Home)

Reddy started his career as the national president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha from 2002 to 2005. He was first elected as an MLA from Sanathnagar in Hyderabad and later was elected twice again from Amberpet in Hyderabad. He later went on to become the chief of Andhra Pradesh (undivided) BJP replacing former Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya. Post the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, he became the Telangana BJP chief. He courted controversy by claiming that he will roll back reservations given to backward classes among Muslims in the state.

Muraleedharan V (BJP) (Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs)

The BJP leader from Kerala has been associated with the ABVP since his early days. He shot into the limelight after his work as an assistant to Venkaiah Naidu at the BJP Central Election Control Room was appreciated. He was appointed as the national convener of the NGO cell of BJP. In 2005, he was made the All India convener of BJP training cell. He is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra and has served as the state president of the Kerala BJP for two tenures between 2010 and 2015. He was credited with the strengthening of the party at the grassroots in Kerala.

Sanjay Dhotre (BJP) (Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Communications, Electronics and IT)

The 60-year-old engineer, born on  February 26, 1959, was elected from Akola constituency for the fourth time defeating Prakash Ambedkar by over 2.75 lakh votes. The four-time MP is a recipient of Maharashtra government’s award for excellent performance. His father Shyamrao Dhotre Patil was an MLA, but quit politics midway after experiencing bitter infighting in the party. After leading the farmers’ movement for about two decades, Dhotre joined BJP in 1997 and was elected as MLA the next year. Dhotre has also worked on many parliamentary panels.

Rameswar Teli (BJP) (Minister of State for Food Processing)

Rameswar Teli had once wished to quit politics after it had dawned on him that “politics is for the rich people,” after he lost the 2011 Assam Assembly elections in 2011. The 48-year-old and Class X passed Teli began his political career from Upper Assam’s Duliajan, serving as a member of Assam Legislative Assembly from 2001-2011. In 2014, the BJP fielded him from the Dibrugarh seat and he defeated five-time Congress MP Pawan Singh Ghatowar. Barring him, none in his family has ever been in politics. His father was a driver while his two uncles eked out a living by pulling hand carts.

Suresh Angadi (BJP) (Minister of State for Railways)

Suresh Angadi graduated in law from the Raja Lakhamgouda Law College, Belgaum. Before entering public life, Angadi ran his private business. After joining the BJP, he became the vice president of the party’s Belgaum district unit in 1996. In 2001, he was nominated as the president of the district unit. The BJP leader defeated his Congress opponent by a large margin and became a member of the 14th Lok Sabha. He was re-elected in 2009 and got a third consecutive term in the Lok Sabha in 2014. Angadi is a close relative of former Karnataka minister VS Koujalagi.

Nityanand Rai (BJP) (Minister of State for Home)

Nityanand Rai, 53, the BJP MP from Ujiyarpur constituency in Samstipur district was a member of the ABVP. Born in 1966 in Vaishali district, he is first time minister. He is at present the BJP state president, a post he has held since 2014. The BJP has pitched him as a Yadav leader capable of negating the influence of RJD supremo leader Lalu Prasad Yadav. He has won for the second time in the Lok Sabha polls, this time beating the formidable Upendra Kumar Kushwaha, chief of the RLSP. Rai had represented the Hajipur Assembly constituency from 2000 till 2010. 

Rattan Lal Kataria (BJP) (Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Social Justice and Empowerment)

The three-time MP from Ambala in Haryana, Rattan Lal Kataria, is a Dalit face of the saffron party in the state and was also a minister in Haryana from 1984 to 1988. Before that-in 1982- he was state president of Scheduled Caste Morcha, (BJP) from 1981 to 1982 and spokesman. Since 1980, he has also been a member of the national council of the BJP. He became an MP for the first time in 1999. He remained as president of state unit of BJP from 2001 to 2003. In 2014, he again became an MP from Ambala. His hobbies include likes singing and writing —particularly poetry. 

Renuka Singh (BJP) (Minister of State for Tribal Affairs)

Renuka Singh (55) is the only one among the nine BJP MPs from Chattisgarh to be inducted in the Modi cabinet. A first time MP, she won from Sarguja defeating Congress candidate Khel Sai Singh. A member of the Gond community, she began her political career as the first woman president of BJP’s  Ramanujnagar Mandal in 2000 in undivided MP and was member Samaj Kalyan Board from 2001-03. She was elected in 2003 and 2008 Assembly polls from Prem Nagar Assembly constituency and became the Women and Child Development minister in the Raman Singh cabinet. 

Kailash Choudhary (BJP) (Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare)

Kailash Choudhary from Rajasthan is the surprise inclusion in PM Modi’s Cabinet this time.  One of the new faces,  Kailash fought one of the most challenging contests in the state, in Barmer. Kailash defeated BJP veteran Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh by over 3 lakh votes. “Today, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in, a strong dimension for the progress of the country will be established,” Choudhary tweeted, earlier. He represents the politically dominating Jat community and his getting a cabinet post will give a representation to the community. 

Deboshree Chowdhury (BJP) (Minister of State for Women and Child Development)

Deboshree Chowdhury, the 48-year-old MP from Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal has made her first debut as a lawmaker. She had three strong contenders—CPM’s redoubtable Mohammad Selim, Congress candidate Deepa Dasmunsi, besides Trinamool’s Kanaia Lal Agarwal. CPM’s Selim had won with a razor-thin margin of over 1,600 votes in 2014. However, despite living in Kolkata for the past decade, this time, Deboshree fought a tough battle, working up an impeccable local connect. Deboshree bagged a victory with a margin of more than 60,000 votes. 

Raosaheb Danve (BJP) (Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution)

Born on March 18, 1956 in a farmer family in Jalna of Marathwada region in Maharashtra, Raosaheb Danve has come up a long way from being a Sarpanch of Javkheda village. He had worked even as Panchayat Samiti member before getting elected as MLA for two terms. The five-term MP took oath as union minister for the second time. In 2014, Danve was a MoS in Modi cabinet for nine months before becoming. Danve has never lost any election in his political career over five decades. As state unit president, Danve ran into several controversies but he could sail through.

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