Cabinet Expansion: 19 New Faces Inducted

New Delhi: In a much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inducted 19 new faces, who have been chosen after an exhaustive vetting process to carry forward the government’s vision of ‘Gaon, Garib aur Kisan’.

The 19 leaders from the BJP and alliance partners the Apna Dal, AGP and RPI were sworn-in at a glittering ceremony held at the Rastrapati Bhawan here. President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office and secrecy to them.

Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar, who has been promoted to the Cabinet rank, was the first to take the oath.

Mandla MP Faggan Singh Kulaste, who was a junior minister in former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet, took oath as the Minister of State.

BJP’s national vice-president and Darjeeling MP S.S. Ahluwalia was sworn-in next followed by Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, who represents Bijapur in Lok Sabha.

Delhi BJP leader Vijay Goel, who elected to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan, also took oath today.

RPI leader and Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra Ramdas Athawale and Asom Gana Parishad’s Rajen Gohain were the next to be sworn-in.

Gohain, who took oath in English, is likely to replace incumbent Assam Chief Minister Sarabananda Sonowal, who held the Sports portfolio.

Anil Madhav Dave took the oath as a first-time minister and he was followed by Gujarat BJP leader and a member of Rajya Sabha Parshottam Rupala, who was a minister in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat cabinet.

Journalist-turned-politician and BJP leader M.J.Akbar took oath followed by BJP chief whip in the Lok Sabha Arjun Ram Meghwal.

Another Gujarat leader Jasvantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor, who is an Adivasi MP elected from Dahod, also took oath followed by Chandauli MP Mahendra Nath Pandey.

Uttarakhand MP Ajay Tamta was sworn-in followed by Shahjahanpur MP Krishna Raj, whose induction took the number of women in Prime Minister Modi’s Cabinet to seven.

Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, Mansukh Mandaviya, took the oath followed by Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel, whose party is an NDA ally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

Rajasthan MP C.R. Chaudhary was also sworn-in and he was followed by P.P. Chaudhary, the chairperson of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Offices of Profit.

The final induction was that of Dhule MP Subhash Bhamre.

The portfolios of all the new ministers will be announced later in the day.

There were 64 ministers, including the Prime Minister, prior to today’s Cabinet reshuffle.

According to sources, the selection framework clearly laid out by the Prime Minister was to bring in “doers and performers”, who would deliver on his vision of development and good governance.

This marks a firm departure from the usual routine of frequent changes based on caste, religion and other time serving political considerations – and is a firm endorsement of the brand of developmental politics that the Prime Minister champions, they added.

The decision of expanding the Council of Ministers came after taking into consideration a diverse range of factors.

The first major Cabinet reshuffle was in November 2014.

According to the Constitution, a maximum of 82 ministers can be accommodated in the Cabinet