New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook the third reshuffle of the Union cabinet on Sunday to fill key vacancies and bring in new faces keeping in mind key state elections and eventually the 2019 General Elections. The swearing-in ceremony was held at 10.30am today.
Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have been given Cabinet rank, while Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Virendra Kumar sworn in as Ministers of State. Former Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh, ex-IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam, former home secretary R. K. Singh, Anant Kumar Hegde and former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri also sworn in as MoS.
The much awaited cabinet reshuffle today came in the backdrop of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government drawing flak over the demonetization of high-value currency notes and India’s economic growth slowing to 5.7% in the June quarter, the slowest pace in three years.
Here are the latest updates and developments related to Narendra Modi government’s third cabinet rejig:
■ Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says “BJP-led National Democratic Alliance exists only on paper. Whenever BJP wants some support like in Presidential election or in Parliament, we are remembered. The NDA is almost dead. It is restricted to only meetings of allied parties. We are not hungry for a portfolio or power. The reshuffle is a games of figures for political reasons and we will take appropriate stand at a right time." (PTI)
■ With the elevation of Nirmala Sitharaman from Minister of State to a Union minister, Narendra Modi’s cabinet once again has six women ministers. In 2014, when the BJP came to power, the government had 10 women ministers. Six of them—Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti, Najma Heptullah, Maneka Gandhi, Harsimrat Kaur and Smriti Irani—were ministers of Cabinet rank.
6 women ministers in Narendra Modi’s cabinet
■ Piyush Goyal becomes the new Railway Minister, will also head the Coal portfolio, Nirmala Sitharaman given the defence portfolio. (PTI)
■ Suresh Prabhu is the new commerce and industry minister, while Shiv Pratap Shukla, Ashwini Choubey, Virendra Kumar made MoS in Finance, Health and Women and Child Development respectively. (PTI)
■ Uma Bharati shifted to Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation from Water Resources. (PTI)
■ Nitin Gadkari gets additional charge of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation: official sources. (PTI)
■ MoS Hardeep Puri and Alphons Kannanthanam made MoS (Independent charge) of Housing and Urban Development & Tourism respectively. (PTI)
■ Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan gets additional charge of Skill Development Ministry. Anantkumar Hegde made MoS in Skill Development Ministry. (PTI)
■ RK Singh and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore are MoS (Independent) in Power and Sports ministries respectively. (PTI)
■ Shiv Pratap Shukla,MoS: “Mujhe kaha gaya hai ki Arun Jaitley ji ke saath rehna hai, unke netritva mein kaam karna hai (I have been told to work under Arun Jaitley)." (ANI)
■ Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari raises questions over last week’s ministerial resignations.
■ Nirmala Sitharaman has become the first independent woman defence minister of India, reports Firstpost. Sitharaman earlier held the independent charge of the commerce and industry ministry.
■ Uma Bharati on not attending oath ceremony: “My programs were already fixed, I am not angry," ANI quoted her as saying.
■ Piyush Goyal, who was promoted to cabinet rank earlier today, will replace Suresh Prabhu as the rail minister, reports Hindustan Times.
■ Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu: “Hopeful new team would help Andhra Pradesh,which has been facing problems after unfair and unscientific bifurcation." (ANI)
■ Ghulam Nabi Azad: “Govt’s image already tarnished. Whatever changes they make, it’s tough to rebuild the image," ANI quoted the Congress leader as saying.
■ MA Naqvi: “Our duty is to match up to expectations of PM Modi. We pledge to carry our duties honestly." (ANI)
■ Dharmendra Pradhan: “Grateful to PM Modi. Working together to make India a leading nation by 2022." (ANI)
■ Piyush Goyal likely to take additional charge of Railway Ministry, reports Zee News.
■ Suresh Prabhu indicates his exit from Railway Ministry, says will cherish memories with “rail family". (PTI)
■ PM Narendra Modi says experience and wisdom of all those who have taken oath today will add immense value to the Council of Ministers. (PTI)
■ Lalu Yadav: “They didn’t even get invites (oath ceremony). One who leaves his people won’t be taken in by others. It’s Nitish Kumar’s fate." (ANI)
Four Ministers of State elevated to Cabinet Rank.
Here are the newly inducted Ministers who took oath as Ministers of State.
■ New ministers gather for the group photo with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.
■ K.J. Alphons Kannanthanam takes oath as MoS. He is a former IAS officer.
■ Anant Kumar Hegde, former Home Secretary R K Singh and former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri take oath as Ministers of State. (PTI)
■ Gajendra Singh Shekhawat takes oath as MoS. Shekhawat is the national general secretary of the BJP Kisan Morcha and represents Jodhpur Lok Sabha constituency from Rajasthan.
■ BJP MPs Shiv Pratap Shukla, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Virendra Kumar take oath as minister of states. (PTI)
■ Hardeep Singh Puri takes oath as MoS. He is a former diplomat.
■ R. K. Singh takes oath as MoS. He represents Arrah Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar and earlier served as home secretary under UPA 2.
■ Anant Kumar Hegde takes oath as MoS.
■ Dr Virednra Kumar takes oath as MoS. He represents Tikamgarh Lok Sabha constituency from Madhya Pradesh.
■ Ashwini Kumar Choubey takes oath as Minister of State (MoS). He represents Buxar Lok Sabha constituency and served as a former health minister in Bihar.
■ Shiv Pratap Shukla takes oath as MoS. A Rajya Sabha MP, Shukla is from the state of Uttar Pradesh.
■ Mukhtar Abbas Naqi takes oath. He served as MoS for Parliamentary Affairs and has been given a Cabinet rank.
■ Nirmala Sitharaman sworn in as Cabinet Minister. She served as MoS (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, as well as a Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs under the Ministry of Finance headed by Arun Jaitley.
■ Swearing in ceremony begins. The first minister to take oath is Dharmendra Pradhan. Pradhan is currently serving as MoS for Petroleum and Natural Gas and has been promoted as Cabinet rank minister.
Piyush Goyal is the next minister to take oath as Cabinet rank minister. He is currently serving as MoS with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines.
■ President Ram Nath Kovind arrives.
New minister’s portfolios to be known at 11.30am, according to NDTV.
■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the swearing in ceremony.
Union minister Uma Bharti is attending an event in Varanasi, ANI reports.
■ Union minister Uma Bharati will not attend the swearing in ceremony, NDTV reports. The BJP leader will remain in Lalitpur, it adds.
■ K.J. Alphons to ANI: Thrilled, I was not expecting this. Great surprise.
■ Union ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Nirmala Sitharaman and Dharmendra Pradhan at Rashtrapati Bhavan, oath taking ceremony to begin shortly. Earlier, Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Narendra Singh Tomar also reached the Rashtrapati Bhavan. ANI reports.
■ Shiv Sena is unhappy and will not attend today’s oath ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan, News18 reports.
PTI quoted Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday that he has received no information from the BJP. “I have got news about the Cabinet expansion only from media. I have not enquired about it (from the central BJP leadership). I have neither received any communication from anybody nor are we hungry for power," Thackeray told reporters in Mumbai.
■ Nine new persons will be inducted in the Cabinet, including Satya Pal Singh and Shiv Pratap Shukla from Uttar Pradesh, Raj Kumar Singh and Ashwini Kumar Choubey from Bihar, Virendra Kumar from Madhya Pradesh, Anant Kumar Hegde from Karnataka, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from Rajasthan, Alphons Kannanthanam from Kerala and former Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer Hardeep Puri. All nine faces are senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. Read more
9 new ministers to be inducted into Narendra Modi’s Cabinet
■ The Cabinet expansion is likely to focus on poll-bound states of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. Interestingly, some of the likely ministers are expected from states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The two states, which account for 120 Lok Sabha seats, had helped the BJP come to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and are critical to its 2019 electoral plan.
■ Speculation that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) would join the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance before Sunday’s cabinet reshuffle and expansion had reached a point when party president Sharad Pawar had to issue a clarification. Pawar told reporters in Pune that there was no truth in media reports that two MPs from the NCP would be made ministers in the Modi cabinet. Before Pawar cleared the air, his daughter and MP from Baramati, Supriya Sule had also re-positioned the NCP as an ally of the Congress rather than the BJP. Senior NCP leader and party’s Rajya Sabha MP Praful Patel also ruled out joining the NDA.
■ “There was no such talk of JD(U) joining the Union Cabinet. No talks were held on the issue (between the BJP and JD(U))," Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose party JD(U) recently rejoined the NDA, said in Patna. (PTI)
■ Union ministers—Kalraj Mishra, Bandaru Dattatreya, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey—had resigned yesterday ahead of the reshuffle.
■ After assuming office in May 2014, Modi expanded his council of ministers twice—first on 9 November 2014 and then on 5 July 2016. (PTI)
■ The current strength of the council of ministers, including the prime minister, is 73 and the maximum number of ministers cannot go beyond 81. According to a constitutional amendment, the limit cannot exceed beyond 15 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha which is 545. (PTI)