19 new faces in Narendra Modi Government

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19 new faces including BJP leaders S S Ahluwalia, and M J Akbar and allies Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal and Ramdas Athawale of RPI were on Tuesday (July 5) inducted along with two old hands Vijay Goel and Faggan Kulaste into the Modi government in expansion and reshuffle in which five were dropped and Environment Minister Prakash Javedekar was elevated to the Cabinet. The second exercise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in little more than two years since he took over in May 2014 saw a number a dalit and OBC leaders being given ministerial positions done apparently with an eye on assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand next year and Gujarat later. Javadekar, who held independent charge of Environment, was the lone minister to be promoted to the cabinet rank while all new inductees took oath as Ministers of State. Earlier, there was speculation that Power Minister Piyush Goel and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be elevated to the Cabinet. Ajay Tamta (Uttarakhand), Arjun Ram Meghwal (Rajasthan), Krishna Raj (UP), Athawale (Maharashtra), Ramesh C Jigajinagi (Karnataka) were among the dalit MPs administered the oath of Office and Secrecy by President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhawan attended by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Modi, his cabinet colleagues, BJP President Amit Shah and leaders allied parties among others. No Congress leader was present. Others who were inducted included P P Chaudhary, C R Chaudhary (Rajasthan), A M Dave, Faggan Singh Kulaste (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendra Nath Pandey (UP), Purshotam Rupala, J Bhabhor and Mansukhbhai Mandaviya (Gujarat), Rajen Gohain (Assam) and S R Bhamre (Maharashtra).

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