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Many Surprises In Modi 3.0

Poll Losers Named Ministers, Winners Miss Out: Many Surprises In Modi 3.0

Anurag Thakur missed out on a ministerial berths despite his 5th Lok Sabha win

New Delhi:

A cabinet minister in Modi 2.0 did not find a place in the new government despite posting his fifth Lok Sabha election victory. But a Congress turncoat who lost the election took oath as a minister yesterday. These are among the many surprises in the minister choices in the Modi 3.0 government, which took the oath yesterday.

Here Are Some Surprising Choices In Modi 3.0

Anurag Thakur, who posted another win from his stronghold Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, was among the most prominent faces in the second Narendra Modi government. Initially sworn in as a minister of state after the 2019 polls, Mr Thakur was promoted to the cabinet rank in 2021 and given charge of the Information and Broadcasting portfolio. This time, despite another poll win, he has missed out. BJP sources say the leadership’s decision to bring party chief JP Nadda back to the cabinet cost Mr Thakur a minister role. Mr Nadda is also from Himachal and the leadership decided that they cannot accommodate two ministers from the hill state, the sources explained.

Ravneet Singh Bittu, a two-term MP from Punjab who has served as the Congress’s leader in Lok Sabha, switched to the BJP weeks ahead of the general election. He was fielded by the party from Ludhiana, but lost to state Congress chief Amrinder Raja Singh Warring. In a surprise move, Mr Bittu was chosen for a minister post and took the oath yesterday. He now needs to get elected to either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha within six months. Mr Bittu is the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, who was assassinated by a 1999 attack by Khalistani terrorists. The BJP choosing him as a minister implies that it expects the Sikh leader to help the party grow in AAP-ruled Punjab.

George Kurien is the general secretary of the BJP in Kerala, where the party has broken ground by winning a seat in this Lok Sabha election. He is not a member of any House, but took the oath as a minister yesterday. A lawyer by profession, he has been a member of the BJP for about three decades now and has handled key positions in the party’s minority wing. He has also served as a vice-president in the National Minorities Commission. The BJP leadership’s decision to choose him as a minister indicates that it plans to continue its South push and reach out to the Christian community in Kerala.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, a veteran BJP leader, former Union minister and a parliamentarian for over two decades, lost out on a ministerial berth despite a big win from Bihar’s Patna Sahib. Another key BJP leader, five-time MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy, did not get a minister post despite winning the Saran seat thrice in a row. Modi 3.0 has as many as eight ministers from Bihar, but the two veteran leaders, who have served as ministers in both Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi governments, missed out.

L Murugan is the only minister in the outgoing government who has found a place in Modi 3.0 despite losing the election. While former ministers Smriti Irani and Rajeev Chandrasekhar did not find a place in the new government after they lost the polls, the former Tamil Nadu BJP chief took the oath despite losing the election from Nilgiris. Mr Murugan has earlier served as a minister of state and handled portfolios such as fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, and information and broadcasting. He is a member of the Rajya Sabha.

Veteran BJP leader Parshottam Rupala, who served as a minister in both the first and second Narendra Modi governments, missed out on a place in Modi 3.0 despite scoring a massive victory in Gujarat’s Rajkot seat. Ahead of the polls, the former Gujarat BJP chief was at the centre of a political storm over his remarks on Kshatriyas, an issue that resonated even in northern Indian states. While he still managed to pull off a win, the Modi 3.0 team had no place for him.

Narayan Rane, former Maharashtra Chief Minister, is another leader to lose out on a ministerial berth despite scoring a poll win. A former leader of the Shiv Sena and the Congress, Mr Rane joined the BJP in 2019 and was named the minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the second Narendra Modi government. A former Rajya Sabha MP, Mr Rane won the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seat this time, but lost out on a ministerial berth.

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