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Team Modi features 33 first-timers

Team Modi features 33 first-timers

President Droupadi Murmu with PM Narendra Modi and lawmakers after their oath during a swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi. REUTERS

Tribune News Service

Neeraj Mohan

New Delhi, June 9

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for his third term, several new faces from the northern states of the country were inducted to his Cabinet, including former Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Ravneet Singh Bittu and BJP president JP Nadda.

With the third Modi government taking shape on Sunday, 33 first-timers will grace its ranks and at least six of them hail from well-known political families.

Those joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers for the first time include three former chief ministers — Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana) and HD Kumaraswamy (Karnataka).

Prior to elections, the BJP had removed Khattar from the post of the Haryana CM and he successfully contested the LS elections from Karnal.

Rao Inderjit Singh, a significant Yadav leader and Gurugram MP, has also been inducted into the Cabinet as a Minister of State. This move aims to strengthen the BJP’s influence in the Yadav-dominated Ahirwal region of Haryana, where the BJP won Yadav-dominated Gurugram and Bhiwani-Mahendragarh seats for the second term.

Another leader from the poll-bound Haryana is Krishan Pal Gurjar. The Faridabad MP and former Union minister has been inducted into the Cabinet. His elevation highlights the BJP’s focus on the OBC community.

Meanwhile, a Congress turncoat from Punjab Ravneet Bittu’s induction into the Union Cabinet as a Minister of State came as a surprise. Bittu, grandson of slain Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, shifted to the BJP before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Although he lost the Ludhiana seat to Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring by over 20,000 votes, his inclusion would send a strong message to Punjab, where the BJP failed to win any seat and is facing severe criticism from the farmers. Bittu has been a Lok Sabha MP from Anandpur Sahib in 2009 and from Ludhiana in 2014 and 2019 on a Congress ticket. He hails from Kotla Afghana village in Payal Assembly segment of Ludhiana.

Another prominent face from the northern state of Himachal Pradesh inducted in the Cabinet is JP Nadda, who has replaced another leader of the hill state Anurag Thakur. Nadda, the BJP president, is unlikely to continue as the party chief as his term will end this month. Despite Thakur’s fifth consecutive win from Hamirpur, he failed to secure a Cabinet berth. It’s clear that Thakur has been dropped to accommodate Nadda. From 2014 to 2019, when JP Nadda was a part of the Modi Cabinet, Thakur was working for the party organisation. After JP Nadda became the BJP chief, Thakur joined the Cabinet. There are reports that Thakur might be given an important role in the party again.

Meanwhile, another new face inducted into the Union Cabinet is Jayant Chaudhary. The grandson of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant is considered a prominent Jat leader from western Uttar Pradesh.

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#BJP #Manohar Lal Khattar #Narendra Modi #Ravneet Bittu

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