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As many as seven more women members joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers on Wednesday as the government finalised its first Cabinet expansion since coming back to power in 2019.

The seven women who took oath as ministers of state were Shobha Karandlaje, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Meenakashi Lekhi, Annpurna Devi, Pratima Bhoumik, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar and Apna Dal's Anupriya Singh Patel.

Currently, overall female strength of the Cabinet is 11, which is one of the highest. There were nine women in the first Modi government from 2014-19, including six in the cabinet.

Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani (both Cabinet ministers), Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Renuka Singh Saruta are already part of the Union council of ministers.

Among the seven more women members who joined today, three are first-time MPs. Patel is making a comeback to the council of ministers as she was the Union Minister of State for Health under PM Modi earlier.

Shobha Karandlaje

Karandlaje, 54, is a Lok Sabha member from Udupi Chikmagalur in Karnataka and is serving her second term in the Lower House.

She has previously served as a cabinet minister in the Karnataka government, holding a range of portfolios like Food and Civil Supplies, Power, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj System.

Darshana Vikram Jardosh

Jardosh, 60, is a Lok Sabha member from Surat in Gujarat. She is serving her third term as an MP.

She has also been a Corporator of Surat Municipal Corporation and a member of the Gujarat Social Welfare Board.

Meenakashi Lekhi

Lekhi, 54, is a Lok Sabha member from New Delhi and is serving her second term as an MP. She is a Supreme Court lawyer and social worker.

Annpurna Devi

Devi, 51, is a first-time Lok Sabha MP from Kodarma in Jharkhand. She has also been a four-time MLA from Jharkhand and Bihar and has served as a cabinet minister in the Jharkhand government.

She also served as Minister of State for Mines and Geology in the Bihar government at the young age of 30.

Pratima Bhoumik

Bhoumik, 52, is a first-time Lok Sabha MP for Tripura West in Tripura. She comes from a humble background, and practices farming.

Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar

Pawar, 42, is also a first-time Lok Sabha member for Dindori in Maharashtra. She served as a member of Nashik Zila Parishad and worked for eradicating malnutrition and providing clean drinking water. Before joining politics, she was a medical practitioner.

Anupriya Singh Patel

Patel, 40, is a two-time Lok Sabha member from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

A total of 43 leaders took oath in the first Union Cabinet reshuffle and expansion on Wednesday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to power for a second term in May, 2019.

Some of the key figures inducted into PM Modi's cabinet expansion on Wednesday include Jyotiraditya Scindia, Bhupender Yadav, Sarbananda Sonowal and Pashupati Kumar Paras.

(With inputs from agencies)

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