The Ministers come from diverse social and economic backgrounds, as well as from across the country - stretching from Uttar Pradesh to Kerala and Karnataka; and Rajasthan to Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. All the ministers are highly qualified, with a number of them having professional as well as PhD degrees, said official sources.
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The addition of Vasundhara Raje’s close aide Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, if it goes through, will mark a thaw in relations between the Rajasthan Chief Minister and the BJP leadership in Delhi. His appointment is also a political move to neutralise Ashok Gehlot in his home district Jodhpur as Gehlot is increasingly seen as the face of Congress in the run up to the assembly polls.
Ananth Kumar Hedge, a Brahmin from Uttar Kannada is a five-time MP. The 47-year-old is a surprise choice just before the elections as he will be the second Brahmin from Karnataka in the Cabinet if sworn-in, the other being parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar. Hegde is currently a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and Human Resource Development.
According to sources, the addition of Shiv Pratap Shukla, who is from Gorakhpur, is a political message to Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh after Yogi Adityanath, a Rajput, was made the CM. As part of the Brahmin outreach, the BJP had also made Mahendra Pandey the state chief in place of Keshav Prasad Maurya.
The new ministers will be strategically placed in key ministries, especially focusing on last mile delivery directly to the people, said official sources. They come from varied walks of life, bringing in their unique professional perspective and proficiency to the Council. Many of them also bring rich administrative and governance experience.
Meet the second possible addition: Ashwini Kumar Choubey
• Ashwini Kumar Choubey is a Lok Sabha MP from Buxar, Bihar. He is member of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates and Standing Committee on Energy. He is also a Member of Central Silk Board.
• Choubey has been elected to the Bihar Legislative Assembly for 5 consecutive terms. He has held important portfolios including Health, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering as a Cabinet Minister of the Government of Bihar for 8 years.
• Starting early in politics as the president of the Student`s Union of Patna University, he was an active part of the JP movement in the 1970s. He was taken into custody during the Emergency under MISA.
• Choubey is credited to have raised the slogan "Ghar - Ghar me ho Shouchalaya ka nirman, Tabhi hoga Ladli Bitiya ka Kanyadaan", and has helped construct 11,000 toilets for Mahadalit families.
• Having faced the disastrous Kedarnath floods with his family in 2013, he has authored a book Kedarnath Trasadi on the tragedy.
• A BSc (Hons) in Zoology, he has a special interest in Yoga.
What you need to know about candidate 1 - Shiv Pratap Shukla
• Shiv Pratap Shukla is a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. He is a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development.
• He was elected a Member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly for 4 consecutive times in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1996.
• He served as a Cabinet Minister in the Uttar Pradesh government for 8 years, and is known for his work in Rural Development, Education and Prison reform during his tenure.
• A Law Graduate with an LLB from Gorakhpur University, Shukla started off early in politics as a student leader in the 1970s.
• He was imprisoned for 19 months under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during the Emergency.
As part of the restructuring, 6 incumbent ministers have resigned and will take up other responsibilities. Having made meaningful contributions during their tenures, all of them have been important members of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister has recognised and appreciated their service to the nation, the BJP said.
According to sources, as many as 9 new ministers could be sworn in at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday morning. Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Shiv Paratap Shukla, Virendra Kumar, Anantkumar Hegde, Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Satya Pal Singh and Alphons Kannanthanam are the nine MPs that will join the Modi Cabinet, reports ANI.
West Delhi parliamentarian Parvesh Sahib Singh also met BJP chief Amit Shah on Saturday evening as the BJP top brass met to finalise the names ahead of the mega rejig on Sunday. Chandra Prakash Joshi, an MP from Rajasthan, is likely to get a Minister of State berth. Rajya Sabha MP Shankarbhai Vegad also in the running for an MoS post.
CLICK TO READ | Cabinet Reshuffle 2017 Has Many Parallels With Rajiv Gandhi's Exercise of 1985
More than three decades after Rajiv Gandhi's major Cabinet reshuffle, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to rejig his Cabinet, ministers are being called and asked to put in their papers, exactly like in 1986.
Congress has raised questions on whether the ministers who may be removed or have resigned have any link to corruption cases that are being probed. The Congress also accused the Centre of being "selective" and "opportunistic" in dealing with opposition leaders under investigation in cases of corruption. "The prime minister and the government of India must share the names and departments of persons who have been specifically named," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters. Singhvi said it is but natural that continued silence would be interpreted as complete lack of accountability or more appropriately as "selective accountability, as opportunistic accountability" "But, definitely clear criminal legal action is called for," he added.
Union Minister for Steel, Birender Singh, denied rumours that he was in the running to become the Agriculture Minister in the reshuffle on Sunday morning.
My interaction with farmers has nothing to do with the cabinet reshuffle Sanjay. I meet ppl from all walks of life.Plz dont assume anything. https://t.co/jCiLRXifpp— Birender Singh (@ChBirenderSingh) September 2, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet BJP chief Amit Shah in half an hour from now as the two iron out the details ahead of the big cabinet reshuffle on Sunday. Amit Shah returned to the capital today after attending a crucial coordination meeting with various RSS outfits in Vrindavan, and he and Modi were giving final touches to the changes, say sources. More than half-a-dozen ministers are expected to make way for new faces in the reshuffle while portfolios of some could be changed.
Union minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Kalraj Mishra resigned from the Union Cabinet on Saturday. “I met with Modi ji and said that I’m ready. He said ‘Okay’ and I gave my resignation. I had to give a written resignation then but I submitted it yesterday,” Mishra was quoted saying by ANI.
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