The cabinet reshuffle of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government took place yesterday. 43 ministers took oath at the Rashtrapati Bhavan under the administration of the President of India Ram Nath Kovind. Altogether 36 new ministers have joined the cabinet this time, 7 existing ministers have been promoted and 12 others have resigned.
Seven more women members have been added to PM Modi’s Council of Ministers, making the overall female strength to 11 which is one of the highest. In addition to the existing cabinet ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Renuka Singh Saruta, leaders like Karandlaje, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Lekhi, Annapurna Devi, Pratima Bhoumik, Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Singh Patel took oath as ministers of state.
The new women ministry accommodates diverse factors such as caste, tribe and the urban-rural divide. Sources say that as women voters are seen as an emerging constituency, the move to induct women ministers appears to be a sort of correction by the BJP ahead of the 2024 general elections.
After the cabinet reshuffle was announced, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani tweeted “Youngest in the history of India having significant representation of women minister” and the Council of Ministers reflects the Prime Minister’s commitment towards women-led development & fulfilling aspirations of a New Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
Among the ministers, one prominent face is Apna Dal’s Anupriya Singh Patel, the MP from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh. As the Uttar Pradesh elections are around the corner, this 40-year-olds role is quite important for the party. She served as MoS Health before. Moreover, Ms Patel used to work as a Professor at Amity University before joining politics.
Shobha Karandlaje, 54, another prominent face from Udupi Chikmagalur in Karnataka. She has been in public life for 30 years. She was a cabinet minister in the Karnataka government and has been considered as close aide to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. She replaced D Sadananda Gowda as a representative from the southern state.
Another significant person is Darshana Vikram Jardosh. She has been rewarded for winning in Surat At a time when the BJP faced a threat from the Patel-Patidar movement, she won the Surat election and was widely appreciated. This further influenced rural Gujarat. She has had 40 years in public life and is also the director of an art and culture organisation called Sanskruti.
Meenakshi Lekhi, second-term MP from New Delhi; Annapurna Devi, the MP from Koderma in Jharkhand; Pratima Bhowmik, MP from Tripura West; and Bharti Praveen Pawar, MP from Dindori in Maharashtra completes the women representation in the cabinet.