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Javadekar, Pradhan, Sitharaman among those Modi chose to retain in Cabinet

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, May 30: Prakash Javadekar who was the HRD Minister in PM Modi's first term, Nitin Gadkari who was Road Transport Minister, Piyush Goyal who was the Railways Minister, and Ravi Shankar Prasad who was the Law Minister, were among those who took oath today at the Rashtrapati Bhawan as the Union Ministers and would be part of Modi's Cabinet during his second term as the Prime Minister.

Javadekar, Pradhan, Sitharaman among those Modi chose to retain in Cabinet

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar is the man who has played many roles for his party and government. Basking in the glory of the BJP winning 24 of 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan, a state where he was poll in-charge, the incumbent HRD minister was sworn in as a minister in a grand ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday. The 68-year-old, who has held several portfolios in the previous Narendra Modi government, has had a fairly non-controversial political career. His various portfolios are not the only highlights of his career.

S Jaishankar takes oath; Who is he and why is he important for India's international relations S Jaishankar takes oath; Who is he and why is he important for India's international relations

He was also elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Member of Parliament from Maharashtra in 2008, and re-elected from Madhya Pradesh in 2014. Javadekar took over the affairs of the HRD ministry from Smriti Irani who was shunted to the Textiles ministry amid various controversies, including rollback of the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) in Delhi University.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Prahlad Joshi also took oath as Union Ministers. Ramvilas Paswan and Narendra Singh Tomar also oath as Union Ministers

Dharmendra Pradhan helped build a groundswell for BJP that broke into Patnaik's citadel in 2019. Son of former union minister of state for surface transport, Debendra Pradhan, Dharmendra steered Modi government's biggest social initiative of providing free cooking gas (LPG) connection to poor women that helped build a base for the party in the rural hinterland.

While he micromanaged implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawla Yojana to see LPG customer base more than double to 26 crore in just five years, he kept Odisha central to his political priorities and virtually drove many a project in the oil ministry he headed to the state. A tough taskmaster, Pradhan was picked to head the high-stake Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas when Prime Minister Modi first rode to power in 2014. He overhauled controversy-riddled oil and gas sector but kept touring his home state virtually every week during the last five years, building a base for the BJP.

Smriti Irani, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Arjun Munda also took oath as Union Ministers.

Smriti Irani, whose meteoric rise in the BJP saw her become the HRD and Information & Broadcasting Minister, is someone who would never give up. After losing to Rahul Gandhi in 2014, she continued to cultivate Amethi in the past five years and this helped her reap electoral dividends -- she emerged a giant-killer of 2019 by defeating the Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his home turf. Though the 43-year-old popular television actor-turned-politician lost in 2014, she had succeeded in bringing down the victory margin of Gandhi to only 1.07 lakh from 3.7 lakh in the previous election. The voters rewarded Irani for her sustained efforts in 2019.

The firebrand actor-turned-politician held portfolios of HRD, Textiles and Information & Broadcasting Minister during the tenure of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government's maiden tenure from 2014-2019. She often courted controversies, with the latest on her educational qualification stated in the affidavit submitted by her to the Election Commission while filing her nomination from Amethi.

Narendra Modi took over as the country's Prime Minister for a second term on Thursday after he was sworn in along with other Union ministers, including BJP president Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and former foreign secretary S Jaishankar, a surprise pick. Modi, 68, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Ram Nath Kovind at a glittering ceremony at the forecourt of majestic Rashtraparti Bhavan. "Honoured to serve India!" tweeted Modi after taking the oath for the second consecutive term.

Apart from Shah, Singh, Gadkari, the other top leaders who were sworn-in as Union ministers included D V Sadananda Gowda, Nirmala Sitharaman and Ram Vilas Paswan. While the inclusion of Shah, seen as BJP's key strategist who helped the party to expand its base after taking over the reins of the party in 2014, was much speculated, Jaishankar, considered close to Modi, was a surprise pick. Some of the key ministers in the previous Modi government, including Sushma Swaraj, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Maneka Gandhi were not part of the new council of ministers.

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