72-member NDA Ministry takes charge

61 Ministers are from the BJP and 11 are from its alliance partners in the NDA; 24 States get representation; 43 Ministers are third-term MPs; 27 Ministers are from the OBCs, 10 from the SCs, and five from STs

Updated - June 10, 2024 06:44 am IST

Published - June 09, 2024 07:41 pm IST - New Delhi

Narendra Modi signs documents after taking oath as Prime Minister at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on June 9, 2024.

Narendra Modi signs documents after taking oath as Prime Minister at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on June 9, 2024. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the oath of office for a third successive term on Sunday, along with 71 other members of his Council of Ministers, at a ceremony held in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Click here for the full list of Ministers

Of the 81 slots allowed in the Union Council of Ministers, a relatively large cohort of 72 members was sworn in, reflecting a coalition government emphasising both continuity and change, with a sizeable representation of 11 portfolios given to the BJP’s allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Making space for allies

Five allies, including former Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Bihar, were given Cabinet berths: H.D. Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular), Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan, Ram Mohan Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), and Rajeev Ranjan Singh “Lallan” of the Janata Dal (United).

Jayant Chaudhary of the Rashtriya Lok Dal and Pratap Rao Jadhav of the Shiv Sena were accorded the status of Ministers of State with independent charge. Anupriya Patel of the Apna Dal, Ram Nath Thakur of the JD(U), Chandrashekhar Pemmasani of the TDP and Ram Das Athawale of the Republican Party of India, were made Ministers of State.

Of the NDA allies, the Nationalist Congress Party did not get any representation. It was offered an MoS (independent charge), but is holding out for a Cabinet berth, with party chief Ajit Pawar saying it would wait to get its due. The All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) is also not represented.

Narendra Modi swearing-in | As It Happened

Diverse representation

The Council of Ministers is drawn from 24 States, and includes the BJP’s first Lok Sabha MP from Kerala, Suresh Gopi. The choices also reflect diverse caste and community representation, with 27 Ministers belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBC), 10 belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), five from the Scheduled Tribes (ST), and five from minority communities.

At least 10 Ministers who have been in the government for the last 10 years have made a repeat entry, including Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Giriraj Singh, and Kiren Rijiju, among others. The NDA government emphasises continuity and experience, with 43 members of the Council being third-term MPs, and 39 having been Ministers before.

Former Chief Ministers too found good representation, with former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar, and Assam’s Sarbananda Sonowal, apart from Mr. Manjhi and Mr. Kumaraswamy.

Assembly poll calculus

The upcoming Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand were also kept in mind in the composition of the Council.

The inclusion of Mr. Khattar, considered a close associate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, six-time Lok Sabha MP Rao Inderjit Singh, and senior Gurjar leader Krishan Pal Gurjar, who won from Faridabad for the third time, is connected to the BJP’s focus on retaining its grip over south Haryana and the non-Jat vote bank in the agrarian State. The BJP won five of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana.

From Maharashtra, veteran leaders Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal were both re-inducted into the new Union cabinet, providing representation to the Vidarbha and Konkan regions, while Raksha Khadse, a three-term MP from Raver in Jalgaon, and new Pune MP Murlidhar Mohol will debut as Central Ministers. The Shiv Sena’s Prataprao Jadhav, a Maratha leader who won the Buldhana seat in Vidarbha for the fourth time, was selected by party chief and State CM Eknath Shinde to represent his faction in the Council of Ministers.

Caste-wise, no senior Maharashtra OBC leader — the BJP’s core vote-base in the State — features in the Council; Mr. Gadkari is a Brahmin, Mr. Goyal is a Marwari, Mr. Jadhav is a Maratha, and Ms. Khadse hails from the Teli community. The losses of Pankaja Munde from Beed and Rao Saheb Danve seem to have affected that representation.

The other State going to the polls later this year is Jharkhand, and Annapurna Devi, an OBC leader from Koderma, and Sanjay Seth of the trading community from Ranchi have both been included in the Council. Both are important segments for the BJP in the contest ahead.

Caste equations in U.P.

Another big lesson of the mandate was drawn from the BJP’s disappointing performance in the crucial State of Uttar Pradesh. Here, with nine inclusions, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the focus was on continuity and getting the caste equation right to make up for the election losses. Apart from Rajnath Singh, Prof. S.P.S. Baghel, Pankaj Chaudhary, B.L. Verma, and Anupriya Patel of ally Apna Dal (Sonewal) have held on to their berths. The four new faces are Jitin Prasada, the Pilibhit MP who was a Minister in the State government, four-time MP Kamlesh Paswan, three-time MP Kirti Vardhan Singh, and the RLD’s Mr. Chaudhury. Caste wise, therefore, there are two Rajputs, four non-Yadav OBCs (one Jat, two Kurmis, one Lodh), two non-Jatav Scheduled Castes, and one Brahmin in the mix.

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