BJP heavyweight Rajnath Singh was on Tuesday appointed Home Minister and another senior party leader Sushma Swaraj the External Affairs minister in the new government in which Arun Jaitley gets Finance Ministry with additional charge of Defence.
A day after being sworn-in as the head of a 45-member coalition government, new Prime Minister Narendra Modi distributed portfolios to his cabinet colleagues in which Nitin Gadkari becomes the Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways in an experiment combining relating ministries.
Expanding the experiment, Mr. Modi also brought back Corporate Affairs to Finance headed by Mr. Jaitley.
He has also merged Overseas Affairs Ministry with External Affairs. Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation have been given to another BJP veteran Venkaiah Naidu.
Significantly, first time MP Jitendra Singh, who was elected on a BJP ticket from Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, has been made Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as also of Department of Personnel, which has an administrative control over the CBI. He will also look after Science and Technology, Earth Science with Independent Charge.
The Prime Minister will also be the Cabinet Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy Department of Space.
He will also look after “all important policy issues” and all other portfolios not allocated to any Minister, said an official communique of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
As part of the experiment of restructuring the ministries, Piyush Goel, a close confident of Mr. Modi, was made Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy portfolios.
The big four — Finance, External Affairs, Defence and Home — constituting the key Cabinet Committee on Security, remain with BJP along with other important portfolios like Railways and Agriculture.
Members of NDA allies — Anant Geethe of Shiv Sena gets Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Ashok Gajapathi Raju of TDP gets Civil Aviation, Ram Vilas Paswan of LJP gets Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Harsimrat Kaur Badal of SAD gets Food Processing Industry.
The star of BJP’s victory in Delhi, Harsh Vardhan, was given the Health Ministry while BJP leader Smriti Irani will look after Human Resources Development.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda was given the important portfolio of Railways in his ministerial debut at the Centre.
Ravi Shankar Prasad was allotted the key portfolio of Communication and Information and Technology besides being made the Law Minister.
Uma Bharti, a cabinet minister, has been given the charge of newly created River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation besides being made the Water Resources Minister.
Najma A. Heptulla, the lone Muslim face in the Modi cabinet, was made Minister for Minority Affairs while Maharashtara heavyweight Gopinathrao Munde was given the charge of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation.
BJP veteran from Uttar Pradesh Kalraj Mishra was made Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and another senior leader from Karanataka Ananthkumar will look after Chemicals and Fertilizers portfolio.
Animal-rights activist Maneka Gandhi was given charge of Women and Child Development.
Jual Oram, a firebrand tribal leader who created history by becoming India’s first Tribal Affairs Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, will have the same portfolio in the new government as well.
Five-time MP, Radha Mohan Singh, who was part of Jana Sangh, has got the key charge of Agriculture Ministry while Madhya Pradesh BJP chief Narendra Singh Tomar was made incharge of restructured Mines and Steel and Labour and Employment ministries.
Thaawar Chand Gehlot, BJP face for Scheduled Castes in Madhya Pradesh, has been given the charge of Social justice and Empowerment.
Former Army chief Gen (Retd) V K Singh was made Minister of State with Independent Charge for Development of North Eastern Region. He will also be a junior minister in External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs ministries.
Inderjit Singh Rao, who won from Gurgaon, was given Independent Charge of Planning, Statistics and Programme Implementation besides being made Minister of State in Defence Ministry as well.
Rajya Sabha MP Dharmendra Pradhan, who led BJP to stunning victory in Bihar, was made Minister of State with Independent Charge for Petroleum and Natural Gas.
BJP’s face on television Prakash Javadekar was given charge of Information and Broadcasting, Environment, Forest and Climate Change with Independent Charge besides being made Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs.
Nirmala Sitharaman, another articulate BJP spokesperson, has been given Commerce and Industry Ministry with Independent Charge besides being made Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs.
Santosh Gangwar, who was the chief whip of BJP in 14th Lok Sabha, was given Independent Charge of Textiles besides being made Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
Shripad Yesso Naik, a four—time MP from North Goa, has been asked to look after restructured Culture and Tourism Ministries as Minister of State with Independent charge.