Cabinet reshuffle: PM Narendra Modi to induct nine new faces

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Cabinet reshuffle: PM Narendra Modi to induct nine new faces
Cabinet reshuffle: PM Narendra Modi to induct nine new faces

New Delhi : Former diplomat Hardeep Puri, former union Home Secretary R.K. Singh, former bureaucrat K.J. Alphons, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh and five other new faces including MPs Ashwini Choubey from Bihar and Anant Kumar Hegde from Karnataka will be inducted into the Union Council of Ministers in the expansion and reshuffle to be carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

The others to be inducted are Shiv Pratap Shukla, a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh, Virendra Kumar, a Scheduled Caste member of Lok Sabha from Madhya Pradesh and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a Lok Sabha member from Rajasthan.

Sources said six ministers have resigned as part of restructuring for which the Prime Minister has chosen the power of four Ps - Passion, Proficiency, Professional and Political Acumen for Progress.

Among those who resigned are Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra, Minister of State for Human Resource Developmet Mahendra Nath Pandey and junior Water Resources Minister Sanjeev Balyan.

However, sources did not indicate as to whether the new entrants are being inducted into the Cabinet or as Ministers of State. Since they will be first timers in the government, all the nine may be inducted as Ministers of State.

The disclosure of names came after a final round of discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah after Shah returned from Vrindavan where he met top RSS brass including Mohan Bhagwat on the third reshuffle exercise by Modi, seen as crucial ahead of assembly polls in some states and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan met Shah in the evening triggering speculation of a promotion to cabinet rank.

There was no indication as to the changes being made at the cabinet level amid speculation that Modi could appoint a Defence Minister while shifting Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to some other ministry. 

Puri, who was India's Permanent Representative at the United Nations, had joined BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. An officer of the 1974 batch of IFS, he is known for his experience and expertise in foreign policy and national security. 

R. K. Singh, a Lok Sabha member from Ara in Bihar, was union Home Secretary during the UPA rule and had served in various capacities including as Defence Production Secretary and Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry.

Alphons, who earned the sobriquet "Demolition Man" when as DDA commissioner he undertook a campaign against unauthorised constructions in the national capital scrapping 15,000 buildings, is a former IAS officer who had joined BJP in Kerala.

As Collector, Alphons had played a leading role in making Kottayam the first literate town in the whole country in 1989. Like Puri, he is not a Member of Parliament.

Satyapal Singh, an MP from Baghpat in western Uttar Pradesh, was Mumbai Police Commissioner known for his extraordinary work in Maoist-affected areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. As Police Commissioner in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, he is credited with breaking the backbone of organised crime syndicates in the 1990s.

In the political category, Shiv Pratap Shukla, the Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh is a member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development and a four time member of the Uttar Pradesh assembly. He has served as cabinet minister in the state for eight years and is known for his work in rural development, education and prison reforms.

The other nominee from Bihar Ashwini Choubey is a Lok Sabha member from Buxar. He was elected MLA from Bhagalpur for five consecutive terms and has held portfolios of Health, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering for eight years.

Virendra Kumar is a six-time Lok Sabha member from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh and is the chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour. Choubey and Kumar have participated in JP movement in 1970s and were imprisoned during the Emergency.

Hegde, a Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada in Karnataka, is a seasoned parliamentarian having won five elections. He is a member of the parliamentary committee on External Affairs and Human Resource Development and has keen interest in rural development. Assembly elections are due in Karnatka early next year and in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in the later part. 

Shekhawat, a first time MP from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, is a techno savvy progressive farmer and is seen as a role model for the rural community. Known for his simple life style, he is one of the most followed political leaders on Quora globally.

The sources said in continuation of his track record identifying his fellow team members on the merit of their past performance and future potential, the Prime Minister has selected the new ministers with a mandate to deliver on his vision of new India. The vision is built on foundations of development and good governance with a focus on poor opressed and deprieved section of the society.

They said the ministers were going to be strategic placed in key ministries, specially focussing on last-mile delivery directly to the people. They come from diverse social and economic backgrounds as well as from across the country.