New Delhi: The nine new members inducted in the Union council of ministers include four former senior bureaucrats and also Bharatiya Janata Party (BPP) leaders from the states of Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which go to polls in the near future.
Here are their short profiles:
- Ashwini Kumar Choubey
64-year-old Ashwini Kumar Choubey has been the health minister of Bihar. A BJP veteran he was born at Dariyapur in Bhagalpur and did BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the Science College, Patna University. Presently, he represents the Buxar Lok Sabha seat. Married to Neeta Choubey, he is father to two sons. He was an active part of the JP movement in the 1970s and was taken into custody during the Emergency. Chaubey is credited with raising the slogan "Ghar-Ghar me ho Shouchalaya ka nirman, Tabhi hoga Ladli Bitiya ka Kanyadaan", and has helped construct 11,000 toilets for Mahadalit families.
- Virendra Kumar,
Virendra Kumar, 63, is the Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh. From the convenor of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), District Sagar in 1977-79 to now being set to become a Union minister in the Modi government, it has been a long journey for Kumar, who was elected for a sixth Lok Sabha term in 2014.
Kumar had participated in the JP movement of the 1970s, and was in jail for 16 months during the Emergency. He hails from the scheduled caste community and hold a masters degree in economics and a PhD in Child Labour.
- Shiv Pratap Shukla
65-year-old Shiv Pratap Shukla is a Rajya Sabha MP from the country's most populous and electorally crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. The lawyer-social worker has earlier been a minister in the government of Uttar Pradesh. He was appointed a vice president of Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP in 2012. He is a law graduate from the Gorakhpur University and was imprisoned for 19 months during the Emergency.
- Anant Kumar Hegde,
Anant Kumar Hegde, 49, was elected to the Lok Sabha a member of the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha, from Uttara Kannada in Karnataka. He is an agriculturist by profession. At the young age of 28, he was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time. During his multiple stints in Parliament, he has been a member of multiple Parliamentary Standing Committees like Finance, Home Affairs, Human Resource Development, Commerce, Agriculture and External Affairs. He has also been a member of the Spices Board of India for 4 terms. He is a practitioner of Tae-kwon-do.
- Satya Pal Singh
Satya Pal Singh is a Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh. The 1980 batch, Maharashtra cadre, retired IAS officer is a former Mumbai police chief. He was recognized with medals like the Antrik Suraksha Sewa Padak by the Centre in 2008 and a special service medal for extraordinary work in the Naxalite areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in 1990. Singh has written books, on topics like tribal conflict resolution and Naxalism. Born in Basauli village in Baghpat, Satya Pal Singh has a MSc and MPhil in Chemistry, MBA in Strategic Management from Australia, MA in Public Administration as well as a PhD in Naxalism.
- Gajendrasingh Shekhawat
Gajendrasingh Shekhawat (age 49) is the Jodhpur Lok Sabha MP. He also is a national general secretary of the farmers wing of the BJP. A sports enthusiast, Shekhawat has participated at National and All India Inter University level in Basket Ball. He currently is a Member of the All India Council of Sports and the President of Basketball India Players Association. He has an MPhil and MA in Philosophy from Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur.
- Hardeep Singh Puri
Hardeep Singh Puri, 65, is a 1974 batch Indian Foreign Service officer who served as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. Known for his experience and expertise in foreign policy and national security, he is the president and chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank, and was the Vice President of International Peace Institute, New York.
His four-decade career in diplomacy spanning the multilateral arena, included critical roles of ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ambassador to Brazil and the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative of India to Geneva. An alumnus of The Hindu College, Delhi University, Puri was a student leader and active during the JP movement. He briefly taught at St. Stephens College before joining the IFS.
- Raj Kumar Singh,
Raj Kumar Singh, 64, a former IAS officer of 1975 batch Bihar cadre, has been a former Home Secretary of India. He is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha representing Arrah in Bihar. Singh studied English Literature at St. Stephens College, New Delhi and got a Bachelors Degree in Law thereafter. He also went on to study at the RVB Delft University in Netherlands.
- Alphons Kannanthanam
Alphons Kannanthanam is a former IAS officer of the 1979 batch, Kerala cadre. He is also a practicing advocate. Kannanthanam became famous as Delhi's 'Demolition Man' during his stint at the Delhi Development Authority, having cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings.
Born in a non-electrified Manimala village in Kottayam district to a World War II veteran, he pioneered the literacy movement in India as District Collector of Kottayam by making it the first 100 per cent literate town in India in 1989.
He retired from the IAS to get elected as an Independent Member of Legislative Assembly for Kanjirappally in Kerala from 2006 to 2011. Kannanthanam is a Member of the Committee to prepare the final draft of the National Education Policy 2017. He has authored a book "Making A Difference".