Modi's Core Team Back in Power

New Delhi: Signalling continuity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Cabinet saw the return of the old warhorses. While Amit Shah retained the home ministry, Rajnath Singh continued with defence. Nirmala Sitharaman retained finance and corporate affairs while Subrahmanyam Jaishankar kept the external affairs ministry, so the Cabinet Committee on Security did not see any changes.

Nitin Gadkari, who retained his road transport and highways portfolio for the third consecutive time, became the longest serving minister of this particular ministry. Making his Union Cabinet debut, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been given the crucial portfolio of agriculture, Kisan Kalyan and rural development.

With the Haryana Assembly polls due in October, former chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who too made his debut in the Union Cabinet, was given power and the ministry of housing and urban affairs.

After leading the BJP as its president for over four years, J.P. Nadda was on Monday allocated the health ministry and the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers, a day after he took the oath as a Cabinet minister. Earlier, Mansukh Mandaviya had headed these two ministries.

Mr Mandaviya was made minister of labour and employment and minister of youth affairs and sports whereas Hardeep Singh Puri retained the petroleum and natural gas ministry.

The information and broadcasting ministry, which is expected to play a dominant role in a coalition government, has gone to railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. He has also retained the ministry of electronics and information technology.

Another Cabinet minister, Bhupendra Yadav, also retained the ministry of environment and climate change. The civil aviation ministry, which was held by Jyotraditya Scindia, has gone to to K. Ramamohan Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party. Mr Scindia will be the new minister of communications and in charge of the ministry of development of the Northeast.

Mr Kiren Rijiju has been moved from the earth sciences ministry to parliamentary affairs, while Arjun Ram Meghwal will continue as law minister. Sarbananda Sonowal has also retained the shipping portfolio.

Among the new faces, former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has been made minister of heavy industries and steel while former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi has been given the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises. Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh was given panchayati raj, fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, while LJP-RV chief Chirag Paswan was given the food processing ministry, which was earlier held by his father Ram Vilas Paswan.

The ministry of jal shakti is allocated to Gujarat BJP chief C.R. Patil, which was earlier held by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who now shifted to the ministries of culture and tourism, earlier held by G. Kishan Reddy, who was made the minister of coal and mines.

Dr Virendra Kumar was again given the ministry of social justice and empowerment, while Pralhad Joshi was made minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution and ministry of new and renewable energy. Senior tribal leader from Odisha Jual Oram was allocated tribal affairs while Giriraj Singh has been given the textiles ministry.

Ms Annpurna Devi has been given the responsibility of the women and child development ministry.

Among the ministers of state (independent charge) -- Rao Inderjit Singh has been allocated statistics and programme implementation and planning, Jitendra Singh will be the minister for science and technology and earth sciences while Prataprao Jadhav will be the new minister of Ayush.

RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary was made MoS (independent charge) for skill development and entrepreneurship.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 71 ministers took the oath of office and secrecy at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday evening.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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