NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the expansion of his cabinet on Wednesday. The carefully calibrated exercise was undertaken keeping in view the assembly elections scheduled next year in several states and to balance the alliance arithmetic. As many as 43 new ministers have been inducted into the cabinet and a new ministry — ministry of cooperation — before the reshuffle.
The most notable inclusion has been Jyotiraditya Scindia, who quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in March last year. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh in July last year. Sarbananda Sonowal and Narayan Rane, two former chief ministers, have been inducted into the Union cabinet, too. Meanwhile, Hardeep Singh Puri, Kiren Rijiju and Mansukh Mandaviya also took oath as ministers.
The Cabinet reshuffle threw several shockers, too. Former Union health minister Harsh Vardhan was dropped from the cabinet, along with Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Union minister for information and broadcasting Prakash Javadekar. First time MP
Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel has been inducted from Uttar Pradesh, which is among the states going to polls in 2022. Patel had earlier met BJP chief JP Nadda and home minister Amit Shah last month. Patel made a re-entry to the Cabinet as she was a minister in the Union cabinet during PM Modi’s first five years.
PM Modi also accommodated BJP’s ally and Bihar’s ruling party Janata Dal (United). JD(U) chief RCP Singh is among the new entrants. His induction followed the visit of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to the national capital last week. Lok Janshakti Party leader Pashupati Nath Paras was also inducted on Wednesday.
PM Modi held a series of meetings in the last few weeks with various chief ministers and Union ministers ahead of the cabinet reshuffle. The council of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now have 77 ministers.