Prime Minister Narendra Modi today carried out a major expansion of his Council of Ministers, inducting 19 new faces, including several dalit and OBC leaders as well as from poll-bound states like UP. Prakash Javadekar, who held the independent charge of environment, was the lone minister promoted to the cabinet rank while all new inductees took oath as ministers of state. 5 ministers - Nihalchand, RS Katheria, Sanwar Lal Jat, Manuskhbhai D Vasva, MK Kundariya - have been dropped.
Today’s exercise underlines BJP’s attempts at wooing dalits and OBCs, whose votes would be crucial to its fortunes in key states like UP and Gujarat. All barring Vijay Goel and Faggan Kulaste are new faces while a few have been ministers in BJP-ruled state governments. At least three ministers of state are likely to be dropped.
The expansion is the second since PM Modi took over in May, 2014. There can be a maximum of 82 ministers in Cabinet under a constitutional bar. (With PTI inputs)
Here are the highlights: