Biggies retain portfolios; Agriculture for Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Power goes to ML Khattar

0
63

NEW DELHI: All top members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet on Monday retained key portfolios with clear focus on ongoing reforms and continuation of policy framework across all sectors of governance.

Of the 19 ministers of the previous Modi Cabinet who were sworn in again on Sunday, 12 have been allocated the same segments which they were handling in the BJP-led NDA 2.0 dispensation. Ministers handling strategic, infrastructure, education and environment sectors have been retained in the same segments.

PM Modi’s own work allocation is unchanged as he will continue to handle the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; departments of Atomic Energy, Space and all major policy issues. Udhampur MP Jitendra Singh will be the MoS, PMO, and Space as earlier.

All top 12 ministers will handle the same portfolios as before — Rajnath Singh (Defence), Amit Shah (Home, Cooperation), Nitin Gadkari (Road Transport and Highways), Nirmala Sitharaman (Finance), S Jaishankar (External Affairs), Piyush Goyal (Commerce and Industry), Dharmendra Pradhan (Education), Sarbanand Sonowal (Ports and Shipping), Virendra Kumar (Social Justice), Ashwini Vaishnaw (Railways, IT and Electronics), Bhupender Yadav (Environment) and Hardeep Puri (Petroleum).

Newly inducted Cabinet Minister and BJP chief JP Nadda returned to the Health Ministry today with additional charge of Chemicals and Fertilisers. Mansukh Mandaviya handled these segments before.

For Nadda, it is a homecoming of sorts as he was the Health Minister before moving as the BJP president in 2020 and is returning to the same segment with his term in the party ending in June.

PM Modi has trusted former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan with the most crucial Agriculture, Farmer Welfare and Rural Development ministries. Chouhan’s task will be cut out at a time of raging farmers’ angst against the ruling BJP, which lost several rural-dominated Lok Sabha seats in the 2024 elections, failing to touch a simple majority in the Lower House and having to rely on the NDA allies for the same.

Haryana ex-CM ML Khattar will be the new Union Minister of Housing, Urban Development and Power.

In the outgoing Cabinet, Arjun Munda was the Agriculture Minister. He lost the Lok Sabha election from Jharkhand’s Khunti this year, so also the Cabinet berth.

Khattar’s segment was earlier handled by RK Singh (Power) and Hardeep Puri (Urban Development and Housing). While RK Singh is no longer in the Cabinet having lost the LS poll from Bihar’s Arrah, Puri has shed Urban Development for Khattar but has retained Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Rao Inderjit, Jitendra Singh and Arjun Meghwal, all MoS (Independent charge), will be ministers of the same segments as before Planning; PMO, Personnel and Space; and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, respectively.

The Women and Child Development Ministry, handled by Smriti Irani in Modi 2.0, has gone to Jharkhand’s Annapurna Devi while veteran Odisha BJP leader Jual Oram has returned to the Cabinet as Tribal Affairs Minister.

Three ministers who bagged big promotions are Vaishnaw, Kiren Rijiju and G Kishen Reddy. Vaishnaw retains Railways, IT and Electronics and has been made the I&B Minister. Known in BJP circles as a master powerpoint presenter and leader with abilities to communicate complex subjects easily, Vaishnaw as the I&B Minister would be expected to bolster the government’s image.

Seven Cabinet ministers whose portfolios have been changed from the segments they were handling before are Pralhad Joshi (Food, Consumer Affairs instead of Parliamentary Affairs and Coal and Mines); Mansukh Mandaviya (Sports, Youth Affairs and Labour instead of Health, Chemicals and Fertilisers); Jyotiraditya Scindia (Communications and North East Development instead of Civil Aviation); Giriraj Singh (Textiles instead of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj); Gajendra Shekhawat (Tourism, Culture instead of Jal Shakti, which has gone to new inductee CR Patil); Kishen Reddy (Coal and Mines instead of Culture and Tourism); and Rijiju (Parliamentary and Minority Affairs instead of Earth Sciences).