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Cabinet reshuffle as it happened: Modi's picks balance caste equations in UP, Rajasthan ahead of Assembly polls

Nine new faces including former IFS officer Hardeep Puri, ex-Mumbai Police chief Satyapal Singh and retired IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam will be inducted into the Union Council of Ministers on Sunday as part of a major revamp by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

FP Staff September 03, 2017 21:37:43 IST
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Cabinet reshuffle as it happened: Modi's picks balance caste equations in UP, Rajasthan ahead of Assembly polls

Highlights

14:43 (ist)

Nirmala Sitharaman thanks 'cosmic grace' for defence portfolio

Nirmala Sitharaman who landed the crucial defence portfolio in a major rejig of the Modi government on Sunday credited her elevation to a Cabinet rank minister to "cosmic grace" and support from party leadership. "Somebody who has come from a small town, grown into the party with all the support of the leadership, and if given such responsibility, it just makes you feel sometimes that cosmic grace is there. Otherwise, it is impossible," she told reporters after taking the oath.

14:00 (ist)

Ashwini Kumar Choubey is new MoS, Health and Family welfare, Anantkumar Hegde is MoS, Skill development

Ashwini Choubey is also 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. 

Known to have a deep focus on rural India, Hegde is the founder president of Kadamba, an NGO working in the field of rural development, rural health, SHGs, rural marketing and other rural welfare programmes. 

13:43 (ist)

KJ Alphons gets independent charge of Tourism and MoS for Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

Alphons Kannanthanam is a former IAS officer of the 1979 batch, Kerala cadre. He is also a practicing advocate. Alphons became famous as Delhi's "Demolition Man" when he was the commissioner of the Delhi Development Authority, having cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings.

13:39 (ist)

RK Singh is now power minister, takes over from Piyush Goyal

RK Singh, the former home secretary, will now hold the independent charge of the power ministry, which was earlier handled by Piyush Goyal, who has got a promotion as the new railway minister. 

12:51 (ist)

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a popular figure on Quora

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is a Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on finance and chairperson of the fellowship committee. A technology-savvy, progressive farmer; Shekhawat is one of the most followed political leaders on Quora globally.

11:20 (ist)

Bigger roles for Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Jitendra Singh?

According to The Economic Times, Rajyavardhan Rathore and Jitendra Singh are being considered for more significant assignments idue to their record as diligent and competent ministers. The report added that Rathore and Jitendra, who is MoS in PMO, have impressed the BJP leadership with their work culture. 

10:14 (ist)

Hardeep Singh Puri, India's top diplomat, likely to be MoS

Hardeep Puri is a decorated former IFS officer of the 1974 batch, known for his experience and expertise in foreign policy and national security. Puri is the President and Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) think tank, and he was also the vice-president of International Peace Institute, New York.

Puri’s four-decade career in diplomacy spans the multilateral arena, included critical roles of ambassador and permanent representative of India to the United Nations, ambassador to Brazil and the United Kingdom and permanent representative of India to Geneva. As the head of the Indian delegation to the UN Security Council, Hardeep Puri had served as Chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN as well as the president of the United Nations Security Council.

17:58 (ist)

No more making room for allies, Cabinet reshuffle is now based on performance audit

It is being said that this is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's last throw of the dice before the 2019 general elections and he needs to root out non-performers from his cabinet to plug the loopholes before seeking another mandate. Media reports have indicated that professional agencies were pressed into service to do a comprehensive assessment of ministers' performance and the 3 September exercise, Modi's third, is the logical conclusion of that effort.

Reports also indicate that many ministers are on edge, fearful of receiving that fateful phone call. Sanjay Singh's piece in Firstpost details how one Union minister had to take the same flight back to New Delhi as soon as he had landed in Patna. He apparently received the instruction from Amit Shah. Two things are immediately apparent. One, Shah's clout as the party chief is enormous. We may have to go back to late Congress president K Kamaraj to find a parallel, as Shekhar Gupta writes in The Print. Second, the discourse around Cabinet reshuffles has totally shifted from the need to accommodate allies to give them a share of the power pie to a SWOT analysis of ministers based on their performance. This augurs well for Indian democracy.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Sept 03, 2017 - 21:28 (IST)

Milkha Singh hails Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's appointment as sports minister


Legendary athlete Milkha Singh hailed Olympics silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore being made the sports minister, saying Indian sports can get better results under his charge.


Wishing Rathore the very best for his new stint, the 'Flying Sikh' said, "Having Rathore at the helm means one can expect better results. He knows inside out and what it takes to win medals at the highest level."


"I had been demanding for the past over two years that Rathore should be made the sports minister. Recently, I had a chance to meet BJP chief Amit Shah over dinner and I told him that Rathore was the most deserving person to be given the job. Mr Shah had then told me that he will definitely look into it," 85-year-old Milkha told PTI in Chandigarh.  —PTI

Sept 03, 2017 - 21:19 (IST)

Virendra Kumar's elevation brings caste balance in Bundelkhand ahead of 2018 Assembly polls

Why was Virendra chosen over others?

BJP's top leadership chose Virendra to ensure a caste and regional balance in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, ahead of the Assembly polls in the state next year.

Kumar as a representative from the region became an obvious choice especially after Union minister Uma Bharti, a BJP stalwart from Bundelkhand and a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh who once dominated the region, moved out of the state and got elected as an MP from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh in 2014.

Full analysis here

Sept 03, 2017 - 21:16 (IST)

Yogi Adityanath greets new council of ministers

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday congratulated the new Union Cabinet ministers and ministers of state who took oath.


A state government spokesperson said that the chief minister exuded confidence that with the new faces in the Union Council of Ministers under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the speed of country's development would be enhanced.


He also said that the state government would extend all cooperation to implement various central schemes in the state. —PTI

Sept 03, 2017 - 21:13 (IST)

Najma Heptulla congratulates Nirmala Sitharam on becoming Defence Minister


Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla congratulated Nirmala Sitharaman on becoming the new defence minister of the country. She also expressed happiness that a woman has been given such an important post as that of defence Minister.


The Governor also extended her good wishes to the nine ministers who were inducted into the Union ministry and others who were promoted during today's cabinet reshuffle. 58-year old Nirmala Sitharaman became the first woman to become a full-time Defence Minister of the country.

Sept 03, 2017 - 20:53 (IST)

No new member from allies, Cabinet reshuffle an all-BJP affair


The third reshuffle in the Modi Cabinet turned out to be an all-BJP affair as its allies were not a part of the exercise. It was expected that its new partner, the JD(U), would get representation in the central government, but it turned otherwise.


JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi said his party was not invited to join the government. The Shiv Sena too was unhappy with its non-inclusion in the Cabinet, stating that the NDA was "almost dead" and that BJP remembered it only when it needed some support.


Sources in the BJP said that members of their alliance might join the government later as there was still a scope for expansion of the Union Council of Ministers. They, however, added that a decision on the allies joining the government would be taken later.  —PTI

Sept 03, 2017 - 20:43 (IST)

From economics to defence, Nirmala Sitharaman rose quickly in BJP

Nirmala Sitharaman became the first woman to be a full-time defence minister in India on Sunday. Her journey in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started as a spokesperson and grew in rank soon with her speaking style and debating skills.

On Sunday, Sitharaman became India's second woman defence minister and the first woman to be made in-charge of this key ministry full time. "Somebody who has come from a small town, grown into the party with all the support of the leadership, and if given such responsibility, it just makes you feel sometimes that cosmic grace is there. Otherwise, it is impossible," Sitharaman told reporters here after taking oath as a Union Minister.

Read more here

Sept 03, 2017 - 20:29 (IST)
Narendra Modi Cabinet rejig to balance caste equations in Rajasthan, say BJP leaders 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday turned the spotlight on BJP's efforts at balancing caste equations in Rajasthan, party leaders in Jaipur said.
 
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore replaced Vijay Goel in the Sports Ministry, while also remaining the MoS in the I&B Ministry. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has been inducted as MoS in agriculture. This highlights the importance of Rajput vote for the BJP, they said.
 
Both the parliamentarians were given roles in the rejig as the party had received negative publicity in the Rajput community after gangster Anandpal Singh was killed in police encounter, a BJP insider said.
 
Rathore (47) and Shekhawat (49) are Rajputs, and the moves are being seen as efforts by the party to keep the community in its fold for the upcoming state assembly elections as well as the general elections scheduled in 2019.
Moreover, both the MPs are highly educated, comparatively younger and have been considered for significant assignments in keeping with their tech-savvy nature and popularity among youngsters, he added. —PTI

Sept 03, 2017 - 20:21 (IST)

Ministry will attain its objectives to electrify villages on time, says RK Singh

Newly inducted Power, New and Renewable Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh on Sunday said his Ministry will attain its objectives on time and said he was certain to come up to the expectations of his leader.

"We have objectives. The Ministry will attain its objectives on time. We have to electrify (the unelectrified villages) within a set time frame," Singh said hours after taking oath of office and secrecy as Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. 

Asked if he was expecting a ministerial berth in the reshuffle, the former Union Home Secretary said, "Whether I was expecting to become a Minister? No. Whether I was expecting this portfolio? No. Both came as surprises." —IANS

Sept 03, 2017 - 20:13 (IST)

P Chidambaram slams retention of agriculture, health ministers

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday attacked the retention of Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Health Minister JP Nadda in the Union Cabinet, saying both the areas are in "distress and crisis".

"Agriculture in distress, Health in crisis, but ministers remain," said Chidambaram on Twitter. "Amidst all the trumped up excitement, will someone please note 13 more children died yesterday in Gorakhpur?" he said in another tweet.

​​

Sept 03, 2017 - 20:06 (IST)

Nitin Gadkari given additional charge of water resources ministry to expedite Clean Ganga Mission

Faced with the herculean task of fulfilling the BJP-led government's promise of cleaning the Ganga, the Centre needed nothing short of a silver bullet to meet the deadline for the project, which some allege, is being implemented at a snail's pace.

This sluggish implementation is the ostensible reason behind transport minister Nitin Gadkari, considered one of the top-performing ministers, getting the additional charge of water resources ministry, sources say.

Read more here

Nine new faces including former IFS officer Hardeep Puri, ex-Mumbai Police chief Satyapal Singh and retired IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam will be inducted into the Union Council of Ministers on Sunday as part of a major revamp by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The swearing-in ceremony of new ministers of the Narendra Modi government will take place at 10.30 am on Sunday, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday.

The new faces include BJP MPs Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Bihar), Virendra Kumar (Madhya Pradesh) and Shiv Pratap Shukla (Uttar Pradesh).

The others are Anant Kumar Hegde, Raj Kumar Singh, Hardeep Puri, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Satyapal Singh and Alphons Kannanthanam.

"The new ministers are going to be strategically placed in key ministries, especially focusing on last mile delivery directly to the people," a source said.

Cabinet reshuffle as it happened Modis picks balance caste equations in UP Rajasthan ahead of Assembly polls

File image of Narendra Modi. PTI

"As a part of the restructuring, six incumbent ministers have resigned," the source said.

Ahead of the reshuffle, six ministers resigned. Sources, however, did not clarify whether any of the new entrants would be given a Cabinet berth. No woman figures in the list.

While he has picked people with proven administrative and professional expertise such as Puri, Satyapal Singh (61), R K Singh (64) and Kannanthanam, he has also chosen lingayat leader Hegde from Karnataka and farmer leaders Shekhawat and Kumar from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Lingayat community is one of the dominant communities of Karnataka which has influenced poll outcomes in several Assembly segments.

There are indications that some of the junior ministers including Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan may be elevated to Cabinet rank.

As government sources disclosed the names, a surprise factor was the absence of members of BJP's allies like JD(U) and Shiv Sena from the list.

Though top BJP leaders maintained silence on the development, sources in the party said it was likely due to lack of a formula for representation which could satisfy all allies.

Paving way for the rejig, Union ministers — Kalraj Mishra, Bandaru Dattatreya, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey — had resigned two days ago.

Uma Bharti, too, had offered to resign, but her fate hangs in balance amid speculation that there may be a few more exits.

There was speculation over the likely choice for the post of the defence minister, and names of Suresh Prabhu and Nitin Gadkari were doing the rounds.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is at present holding the additional charge of defence and he has already given indication of relieving the charge.

While Shukla (65) is a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, Choubey (64) has been elected to the Lok Sabha from Buxar in Bihar.

Virendra Kumar represents the Tikamgah constituency of Madhya Pradesh in the Lok Sabha.

Hegde is a five-time Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada in Karnataka, while Raj Kumar Singh is a first time MP from Arrah in Bihar. Shekhawat represents Jodhpur seat in the Lower House.

Satya Pal Singh is a Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh and a former Maharashtra-cadre IPS officer of the 1980 batch.

Kannanthanam was known as 'Demolition Man' for having ordered razing of thousands of illegal constructions when he was heading the Delhi Development Authority.

Committed to his track record of identifying fellow team members on the basis of merit and future potential, the prime minister will place them strategically in key ministries, especially focusing on last mile delivery directly to the people, they said.

The prime minister is committed to his vision of a new India, which will be built on the foundations of development and good governance, to further the cause of the poor, marginalised and the deprived segments of the society, the sources said.


With inputs from PTI

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