Modi cabinet expands with induction of 43 new ministers

12 dropped, Dr Bharati Pawar takes oath as MoS
Modi cabinet expands with induction of 43 new ministers

NEW DELHI: Dr Bharati Pawar was inducted in PM Modi-led Union Cabinet as a part of major Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday evening. With her inclusion, Nashik has got representation at the Center for the first time. Dr. Pawar is a Lok Sabha MP for Dindori constituency, has got an opportunity to become the first Union Minister from Nashik. Dr. Bharti Pawar, a medical graduate from Bharti University, Pune, hails from a tribal taluka in Dalvat (Tal. Kalvan).

Her mother-in-law and father-in-law are both from Nashik. Her husband Praveen Pawar is an engineer. Father-in-law, the then tribal minister Late A T Pawer was a very popular and well-known leader in development work. He has represented Kalvan Assembly constituency five times in a row. He was twice appointed Minister of State. As his legacy, Dr. Bharti Pawar became a Zilla Parishad member from Umrane and Manoor groups twice in a row. She was also the state vice president of NCP.

She has been an active and aggressive office bearer of the women’s front of the Nationalist Congress Party. She was defeated during the 2019 elections. Dr. Pawar then joined the BJP. She got the Lok Sabha nomination and became an MP and now a minister at the Center. Dr. Pawar worked for eradicating malnutrition and providing clean drinking water.

A major reshuffle of the two-year-old council of ministers was carried out on Wednesday by dropping 12 ministers, including Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and bringing in several new faces and elevating the number of junior ministers. Altogether 43 ministers were sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Former state Chief Minister Narayan Rane, 69, who got the plum post after a rejig has been in three political parties, including one floated by himself, during the past 15-16 years. He was inducted as a Cabinet Minister. The ommission of senior leaders--Dr Vardhan, Prasad and Javadekar--in the first ever cabinet reshuffle since Modi assumed charge for a second term in May 2019, was a surprise. Dr Vardhan and his junior minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey were asked by the Prime Minister to step down.

The 43 leaders who took the oath included Congress turncoat Jyotiraditya Scindia, former Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, Pashupati Kumar Paras estranged uncle of Lok Jan Shakti leader Chirag Paswan, Anupriya Patel--Mirzapur MP and daughter of Apna Dal founder Sone Lal Patel and Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, the president of the Janta Dal (United). The Cabinet reshuffle and expansion took place at 1800 hrs after Modi held a high-level meeting at his official residence.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda were also present. The exercise was slated for 2020 but had to be deferred repeatedly owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. A slew of gubernatorial appointments, including that of Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot as the Governor of Karnataka were announced on Tuesday.

Also, the government decided to create a separate ‘Ministry of Cooperation with the aim of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’ (prosperity through cooperatives). Of the 81 slots of the council of ministers, now 79 are filled by the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre. The previous reshuffle was conducted in 2017 when Nirmala Sitharaman was made the Defence Minister.

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