Ministers from the northeast including Tripura MP Pratima Bhoumik, former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal , Manipur MP Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Union Minister for Youth and Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju took oath in a major cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday.
Bhoumik and Singh were appointed as minister of state (MoS) along with twenty others. Pankaj Choudhary, Anupriya Singh Patel, Dr. Satya Pal Singh Baghel, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Sushri Shobha Karandlaje, Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Meenakshi Lekhi, Annpurna Devi, A. Narayanaswamy, Kaushal Kishore, Ajay Bhatt, B. L. Verma, Ajay Kumar, Chauhan Devusinh, Bhagwanth Khuba, Kapil Moreshwar Patil, Dr. Subhas Sarkar, Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar were also among those who were appointed.
Bhoumik defeated Subal Bhowmik from Congress in 2019 from the West Tripura constituency with a margin of 3,05,689 votes. A graduate in bio science, she had been a part of the BJP since 1991.
Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh who had been serving his first term in the Lok Sabha from the Inner Manipur constituency since 2019 has a PhD had a four-decade long career as a Geography Professor, ending as Director of College Development Council in Manipur University. He has a MA and PhD in Geography from Gauhati University.
Kiren Rijiju, who was elevated to Cabinet rank, and Rameswar Teli are the incumbent ministers from the northeastern region in the PM Modi’s ministry.
Former Assam CM Sonowal started out life as president of students’ body AASU, and was inducted in Modi’s first cabinet as northeast’s sole representative as a minister of state with independent charge. Sonowal was Modi’s obvious choice for the job of Assam’s chief minister after he scripted BJP’s historic first electoral victory in any northeastern state, five years ago.
Earlier this year, when Assam polls were announced, the BJP decided not to project the law graduate as the chief ministerial face. An obvious sign that he would be eased out of the top job. With Himanta Biswa Sarma getting that job, many political pundits had predicted that he would be accommodated in the Union cabinet in the next reshuffle.