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Meet youngest and oldest ministers in Modi Cabinet


New Delhi, May 31: BJP leader Smriti Irani, (43) who scripted a massive victory in the Amethi seat in the Lok Sabha Elections became the youngest in the second Narendra Modi government's council of ministers.

BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan is the oldest at 73 years of age. Close on his heels are Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Santosh Kumar Gangwar at 71 years.

Smriti Irani

The new Council of Ministers has 24 Cabinet ministers, 9 Ministers of State with independent charge and 24 Ministers of State. There are a total of 24 new faces - seven hold Cabinet rank, one Minister of State (independent charge) and 16 Ministers of State.

The average age of the Modi Cabinet is 59.63 years and last time the average age of the Modi cabinet in 2014 was 62 years.

Smriti Irani

Smriti Irani, whose meteoric rise in the BJP saw her become the HRD and Information & Broadcasting Minister, is someone who would never give up.

Modi Cabinet 2.0: List of new ministers of India 2019

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.

Ram Vilas Paswan

A politician with an uncanny knack for sensing which way the wind is blowing, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan has a rare distinction of serving as a minister in the cabinets of six prime ministers.

The septuagenarian had started off as a member of the Bihar legislative assembly in the 1960s and shot to fame in the 1977 post-Emergency Lok Sabha polls when he won Hajipur seat by over four lakh votes, then a record margin.

Another emphatic victory in 1989 earned him his first stint in the cabinet of V P Singh, who appointed him as labour minister.

Less than a decade later, he was back as railway minister in successive governments headed by H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujaral which together lasted for a couple of years.

The Janata Dal faction, with which he was associated in the 1990s, sided with the BJP-led NDA and Paswan was made the minister for communications, and later coal in the government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Later, he floated his own party with a view to exploring the possibilities as the foremost Dalit leader in Bihar after Babu Jagjivan Ram.

The Gujarat riots of 2002 saw him quit the NDA in protest and gravitate towards the Congress-led UPA, which came to power two years later. He was appointed the minister for chemicals and fertilizers and steel under Manmohan Singh.

His relations with the Congress got strained during the UPA-2 when he was denied a ministerial berth following his party's debacle in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Paswan himself was defeated at his own citadel of Hajipur.

Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls the BJP, which was looking for allies in Bihar so they could help it make up for the loss of Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U), welcomed him with open arms and offered him seven seats to contest. The LJP won six, including Paswan, his son Chirag and brother Ram Chandra.

As the minister for food and public distribution and consumer affairs under Narendra Modi, Paswan made his mark as a stout votary of the government whenever it came under attack on issues of social justice. He handled efficiently the pulses and sugar sector crisis besides bringing reforms in the Public Distribution System.

The average age of the council of ministers has decreased because many in the previous Modi government ,who were over 65 years of age, are no longer part of the new one.

While senior leader Arun Jaitley, 66, has opted out of the Cabinet over ill-health, Sushma Swaraj, 67, who also had health issues, was a notable omission from the council of ministers.

Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete, 68, senior Haryana leader Chaudhary Birender Singh, 73, six-time MP Radhamohan Singh, 70, former union tourism minister Alphons Kannanthanam, 65, have all lost their ministerial berths.

Senior Delhi BJP leader Vijay Goel, 65, Pon Radhakrishnan, 67, who lost the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat this time and S S Ahluwalia, 67, who won from Durgapur and a Dalit leader who won from Bijapur in Karnataka Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, 66, have failed to find a place in the council of minister this time.

Assam leader Rajen Gohain, 68, Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, Virendra Kumar, 65, have also been left out.

Rajathan BJP leaders, C R Chaudhary and P P Chaudhary, 71 and 65, respectively, have been both been dropped from the government.

In the outgoing council of ministers, former minister of state for health, Anupriya Patel, 38, was the youngest. However, she has failed to retain her berth.

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