Cabinet reshuffle | Pokhriyal cites health reason, Gangwar leaves a suspense

Babul Supriyo says sad for himself, but happy for new team

Published - July 07, 2021 09:55 pm IST - NEW DELHI

In this picture taken on December 18, 2019 Bollywood playback singer and politician Babul Supriyo arrives at the ‘Lokmat Most Stylish Awards’ in Mumbai. (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP)

In this picture taken on December 18, 2019 Bollywood playback singer and politician Babul Supriyo arrives at the ‘Lokmat Most Stylish Awards’ in Mumbai. (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP)

Among the reasons that some of the 12 Ministers who resigned ahead of the Cabinet expansion on Wednesday cited for putting in their papers were health concerns as well as just “asked to do so”.

When asked for the reason for his resignation, former Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar told The Hindu: “Ask me in two days”. Mr. Gangwar is an eight-time MP from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, a State where the Assembly election is expected in the first half of 2022. During the second wave of the pandemic in May, he wrote to Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath about the poor response of officials in handling the pandemic.

Former Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Babul Supriyo first said on social media posts that he had been asked to resign, but then issued a clarification. In a tweet, Mr. Supriyo said: “Yes, I have resigned from the Council Of Ministers (As I had framed it earlier, “Asked to resign” may not be the right way to put it )…”

In a series of tweets, he said he was “surely sad” for himself, but happy for his colleagues who would be sworn in later on Wednesday.

PM Modi's Cabinet reshuffle updates

Former Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank resigned citing health reasons. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 in May, and had been hospitalised with breathing difficulties and post-COVID complications for much of last month.

However, Ministry officials note that several key decisions in the recent past have been made by the Prime Minister’s Office rather than the Education Minister. That includes Mr. Modi’s decision to cancel Class 12 exams, shortly after Mr. Nishank published an article indicating he was in favour of holding the exams in a shortened format.

Mr. Nishank’s biggest legacy will be the National Education Policy 2020, although the lion’s share of the work in developing the policy was done during the tenure of his predecessor Prakash Javadekar. His two-year term in office was marred by school and university closures due to the pandemic, a cut in the school education budget, and a failure to appoint Vice-Chancellors at a large number of central universities.

Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre has also been dropped from the Council of Ministers, leaving a fresh slate at the Education Ministry, awaiting new leadership.

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