Modi Cabinet: Meet the key members of his new team
PM Narendra Modi's A-team is mostly comprised of experienced members. Here's all the that you need to know about these key members.
Hardeep Singh Puri, 67 (BJP Rajya Sabha MP, UP): A career diplomat, Puri joined BJP in 2014 and took charge of the ministry of housing and urban affairs in 2017. He was elected as a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh in 2018. A 1974 batch IFS officer, Puri has been a vocal critic of the Arvind Kejriwalled AAP government in Delhi over issues related to Delhi Metro projects and fare hikes.
Experience: 1. MoS (independent charge) of housing & urban affairs (2017-2019)
2. Permanent representative of India to the UN (2009-2013)
3. Secretary in ministry of external affairs (2009 to 2013)
Dharmendra Pradhan, 50 (BJP Rajya Sabha MP): Pradhan’s stint as petroleum minister was marked by policy reforms and a successful attempt at taking clean cooking gas to the masses. Access to cooking gas expanded to more than 94% of the country’s households from 56% five years ago. Deregulation of diesel reignited interest from private and foreign companies in the fuel retailing business and helped cut fuel subsidies. A gas pipeline that will take gas to much of eastern India is nearing completion while a record number of city gas licences have been distributed. Pradhan’s unfinished agenda includes getting more foreign and private players to enter the upstream business, building a gas grid and developing a domestic gas market.
Experience: 1. Minister for petroleum and natural gas (2014-19)
2. Minister for skill development and entrepreneurship (Sept 2017-2019)
3. BJP national general secretary (since 2010)
Sadananda Gowda, 66 (BJP Lok Sabha MP, Bengaluru North, Karnataka): Gowda is a prominent BJP leader in Karnataka who rose to prominence after he became state party president in 2006. During his tenure as the state president in 2008, BJP won the Karnataka assembly elections for the first time. It was also the first electoral victory for the BJP in south India. Gowda went on to serve as chief minister of the state following the resignation of his mentor BS Yeddyurappa. He stepped down a year later due to strained ties between him and Yeddyurappa. His political career has largely remained noncontroversial.
Experience: 1. Minister for statistics and programme implementation (2016)
2. Minister for law & justice (2015)
3. CM of Karnataka (2011)
Thaawar Chand Gehlot, 71 (BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Madhya Pradesh): Considered close to the PM and an old BJP loyalist, Gehlot is the most recognisable face for scheduled castes in the Modi government. As minister for social justice and empowerment in the previous Modi cabinet, he was caught in a controversy over the government’s move to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Experience: 1. Minister for social justice and empowerment (2014-19)
2. LS member from Madhya Pradesh (1996-2009)
Ram Vilas Paswan, 72 (Former LJP Lok Sabha MP, Hajipur, Bihar): As a member of the council of ministers during Modi’s first term, Paswan handled the food and consumer affairs ministry. He is credited with keeping price rise under check and increasing government procurement of food items. Paswan is a prominent Dalit face from Bihar, president of the Lok Janshakti Party and a BJP ally since 2014. He was the only person from the LJP to become a minister in Modi’s cabinet.
Experience: 1. Minister for food consumer affairs (2014-2019)
2. Minister for chemical & fertilisers (2004-2009)
3. Minister for mines (2001-2002)
4. Minister for communications and IT (1999-2001)
5. Minister for labour and welfare (1989-1990)
6. Minister for railways (1996-1998)
Piyush Goyal, 54 (BJP Rajya Sabha MP): Chartered accountant-turned-politician Piyush Goyal was in charge of some of the top portfolios in the Modi government. Goyal seems to have been the BJP government’s SOS minister. He twice stepped in for ailing colleague Arun Jaitley as finance and corporate affairs minister. As power minister, Goyal launched some of the administration’s marquee schemes aimed at reviving the sector and has led the new and renewable energy drive in the country. Goyal also launched the UJALA scheme aimed at distribution of energy-efficient LED bulbs.
Experience: 1. Minister for finance and corporate affairs (May-Aug 2018; Jan-Feb 2019)
2. Minister for railways (Sept 2017-19)
3. Minister for mines (July 2016-Sept 2017)
4. Minister for power, coal and new and renewable energy (May 2014-Sept 2017)
5. National treasurer, BJP (March 2010-May 2014)
Narendra Singh Tomar, 61 (BJP Lok Sabha MP, Morena, Madhya Pradesh): As a member of the council of ministers during Modi’s first term, Tomar was involved with a number of key departments. He’s credited with bringing transparency to the mining sector during the auction process. Tomar is a prominent BJP face from MP.
Experience: 1. Minister for rural development and panchayati raj (July 2016-19)
2. Minister for parliamentary affairs (November 2018 onwards)
3. Minister for mines (May 2014-July 2016, September 2017 onwards)
Mahendra Nath Pandey, 61 (BJP Uttar Pradesh Unit Chief): A prominent Brahmin face of the party in UP, Pandey moved from Modi’s council of ministers to the state to balance the caste equations in the party organisation there. He has won again from Chandauli seat, which is adjacent to the Prime Minister’s constituency Varanasi. His victory is important as Chandauli is considered a SP stronghold and he was fighting against the SP-BSP combine.
Experience: 1. MoS for Human Resource Development (July 5, 2016 to August 31, 2017)
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, 61 (BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Jharkhand): Hailing from UP, Naqvi is the most prominent Muslim face in the Modi government and will be key in dispelling opposition allegations that the BJP is anti-Muslim. His role was elevated in 2016 when he got independent charge of minority affairs after the resignation of Najma Heptulla. Naqvi started his career as a student leader and actively participated in several movements, including JP Movement. Naqvi is a spokesperson of the party and was one of the 11 BJP V-P’s appointed by Amit Shah in 2014.
Experience: 1. Minister for minority affairs (Sept-May 2019)
2. MoS for parliamentary affairs (2014-2017)
3. MoS for I&B with additional charge of parliamentary affairs (2001-2003)
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, 52 years (Shiromani Akali Dal MP, Bhatina, Punjab): Harsimrat Kaur Badal was minister for food processing industries in the first Modi cabinet. She is credited with allowing 100% FDI in food processing industries. Her focus was also on creating a cold chain network and mega food parks. She launched Operation Green to develop infrastructure for preservation, storage and value addition of TOP (tomato, onion and potato) besides setting up a special Nabard fund to provide affordable credit in designated food parks. Badal was also successful in getting food and agro-based processing units classified under agricultural activities for priority sector lending.
Experience: 1. Minister for food processing industries (2014-2019)
Prakash Javadekar, 68 (BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Maharashtra): Javadekar served in four ministries in the first stint of the Modi government. His most significant tenure was as environment minister, where he paved the way for numerous green clearances and led negotiations on climate change that concluded with the Paris Agreement. He replaced Smriti Irani as HRD minister in 2016. The Institutes of Eminence, along with the IIM Act of 2017 for greater autonomy to the business schools, were announced during his tenure.
Experience: 1. Minister for HRD (Oct 2016-May 2019)
2. MoS (independent charge) for environment, forests and climate change (May 2014-Oct 2016)
Harsh Vardhan, 64 (BJP Lok Sabha MP, Chandni Chowk, Delhi): A popular politician in the Capital, Harsh Vardhan has held two portfolios in the Modi government – environment, forests and climate change and science and technology. He was the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the Delhi assembly elections in 2013. Harsh Vardhan has been credited with major upsets. In 2014 parliamentary elections he defeated Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk and in 2019 he defeated Delhi Congress’ former president Jai Prakash Aggrawal. Harsh Vardhan has served as Delhi’s health minister and has been credited with successful implementation of Pulse Polio programme. With assembly elections due in Delhi in 2020, Harsh Vardhan may have to play a role in the BJP’s scheme of things.
Experience: 1. Minister for science & technology (2017-19)
2. Minister for health & family welfare (2014-17)
3. MLA in Delhi assembly (1993-2014)
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, 51 (BJP Lok Sabha MP, Jodhpur, Rajasthan): As a member of the council of ministers during Modi’s first term, Shekhawat handled agriculture and farmer welfare as a minister of state. A firebrand leader from Rajasthan, he’s credited with the expansion of Jodhpur airport. An old RSS hand, Shekhawat has worked extensively in Barmer’s border villages. In 2014, he contested his first election from Jodhpur. In Delhi, he carved a formidable political place for himself. This time, he defeated Vaibhav Gehlot, son of CM Ashok Gehlot and was rewarded with a promotion to Cabinet. As an MP, he has been one of the prominent debating faces of BJP in Parliament. Shekhawat is close to BJP president Amit Shah and being a Rajput face from Rajasthan plays an important role in BJP’s scheme of things. He is a known Vasundhara Raje detractor and could be leadership’s next choice as CM candidate of BJP although the elections are only in 2023.
Experience: 1. MoS for agriculture and farmers welfare (2017-2019)
RK Singh, 66 (BJP Lok Sabha MP, Arrah, Bihar): The bureaucrat-turnedpolitician joined the Modi cabinet as minister of state for power and renewable energy in September 2017. During his tenure, household electrification under the Rs 16,000-crore PM Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna, or Saubhagya, was completed. The scheme covered 21 million unelectrified households. He took measures to revive stressed assets in the power sector and launched reform initiatives that included addressing issues faced by the sector through draft amendments proposed in the Electricity Act (2003) and Tariff Policy (2016). Transmission charges for solar and wind projects were waived up to March 2022.
Experience: 1. Minister of state (independent charge) for power and renewable energy (2017-19)
2. Retired as home secretary in UPA II (2011-2013)
3. IAS, Bihar cadre, 1975 batch