New Delhi: Four junior ministers—Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal were elevated to the cabinet rank and nine fresh faces inducted as Ministers of State in a major rejig of his team by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.
The new ministers of state sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhavan include Virendra Kumar, Anant Kumar Hegde and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, former IAS officers Alphons Kannanthanam and R. K. Singh, former diplomat Hardeep Puri and ex-Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh.
Two other new faces are Ashwini Kumar Choubey, a member of the Lok Sabha from Bihar, and Shiv Pratap Shukla from Uttar Pradesh.
All the new ministers are from the BJP as its allies were not part of the exercise. Six ministers of the Union Cabinet had put in their papers, days ahead of the reshuffle.
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A highlight of the third reshuffle of the Modi cabinet in as many years is the induction of people with proven administrative ability like Puri, R. K. Singh, Satyapal Singh and Kannanthanam, underlining the Prime Minister’s efforts to give a fresh impetus to governance.
Kannanthanam and Puri are presently not members of Parliament and are likely to be elected to the Rajya Sabha within the stipulated six months.
The promotion of Naqvi, Pradhan, Sitharaman and Goyal, who were all State Ministers with independent charge, is an endorsement of their good performance, official sources said.
Three of the BJP MPs being inducted—Kumar, Hegde and Shekhawat—are from Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan respectively where Assembly polls are due next year.