Parrikar is new DM, Nadda gets Health; Prabhu heads Rlys, Gowda shifted to Law

* Jitendra gets charge of 8 North Eastern States
Excelsior Correspondent/PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for a photograph with the newly sworn-in Ministers during swearing in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Sunday. (UNI)
President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for a photograph with the newly sworn-in Ministers during swearing in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Sunday. (UNI)

NEW DELHI, Nov 9:  Former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and former Shiv Sainik Suresh Prabhu were today inducted into the Union Cabinet and given Defence and Railway portfolios respectively as Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook an expansion of his council of ministers and reshuffled portfolios while bringing in 21 new faces.
Today’s exercise was marred by the boycott of Shiv Sena which recalled its nominee Anil Desai from Delhi airport back to Mumbai and warned that the party would sit in Opposition if BJP goes with NCP in Maharashtra.
The already-strained BJP-Sena ties further dipped when Prabhu, Power minister in the Vajpayee government, deserted the Sena and joined BJP this morning to take oath as a Cabinet minister. Prabhu has already been appointed Modi’s ‘sherpa’ for the G-20 Summit.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who shed Defence portfolio, interestingly got Information and Broadcasting from Prakash Javadekar, who has now been left with only Environment and Forests.
New Cabinet ministers J P Nadda and Birender Singh have been given Health and Rural Development portfolios respectively.  Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has been shunted to Science and Technology and Earth Sciences while Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has been divested of the Rural Development charge in favour of Singh.
This is the first revamp undertaken by Modi since assuming power in May with the induction of four cabinet ministers, three ministers of state with independent charge and 14 ministers of state.
The strength of the ministry has now gone up from 45 to 66. Of this, 27 including Prime Minister are of Cabinet rank, 13 Ministers of State with independent charge and 26 Ministers of State.
The main focus of the Prime Minister has been to take away additional charges from several of the ministers and give it to the new comers in a bid streamline functioning of the ministry and to quicken their pace of work.
The three ministers of state with independent charge who were sworn in today were former ministers in Vajpayee government Bandaru Dattatreya and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who have been given Labour and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship portfolios while new comer and first time MP Mahesh Sharma from Gautam Budh Nagar, bordering Delhi, gets independent charge of Culture and Tourism and MoS in Civil Aviation. Rudy is also MoS Parliamentary Affairs.
14 other Ministers of State were sworn-in. They are Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Ram Kripal Yadav, Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, Sanwar Lal Jat and Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya Giriraj Singh, Hansraj Ahir, Ram Shankar Katheria, Jayant Sinha, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Babul Supriyo, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Vijay Sampla (all BJP) and Y S Chowdary, a Rajya Sabha member from TDP.
Cabinet Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has retained Communication and Information Techonogy while shedding Law.
Nirmala Sitaraman, MoS with independent charge of Commerce has shed MoS in Finance to newcomer Jayant Sinha, son of former union minister Yashwant Sinha.
Santosh Gangwarwill now only hold the charge of Textiles Ministry and MoS (Independent charge) and has been divested of the charge of MoS Parliamentary Affairs and the MoS, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The charge of Labour and Employment has been taken away from Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and given to Bandaru Dattatreya as MoS (IC).
Gen (retd) V K Singh is the new MoS (Independent Charge) of Statistics and Programme Implementation, held by Rao Inderjit Singh. V K Singh will also continue to hold the charges of MoS External Affairs and MoS Overseas Indian Affairs.
The change in portfolios has led to elevation in the portfolios of Dr Jitendra Singh, the lone Union Minister from Jammu and Kashmir and Member of Parliament from Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assigned him the Independent charge of 8 North Eastern States including Sikkim, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
As Incharge of North Eastern States, Dr Singh will be responsible for development, budget, law and order and all other issues faced by the States.
The portfolio was earlier held by Gen VK Singh, former Army chief.
The elevation of Dr Jitendra Singh in the term of portfolios is being seen as appreciation of his performance by the Prime Minister.
Dr Singh as head of the Ministry will be responsible for socio economic development of 8 North Easters States, encourage private investments and ensure lasting peace in the region. The Ministry was created in 2001 during Atal Behari Vajpayee Government.
Dr Singh will also head North East Council, North Easters Development Finance Corporation Limited, North Easter Regional Agriculture Marketing Corporation Limited, North East Regional Agriculture Marketing Corporation Limited, Sikkim Mining Corporation limited and Narth East Handloom and Handicraft Development Corporation Limited
In addition to new portfolio, Dr Singh will remain as Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Officer and hold charge of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space.
Dr Singh’s portfolio of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences have been given to Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was earlier the Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
Inderjit Singh Rao is now MoS Planning (Independent Charge) and MoS Defence, while he will no longer hold additional charge of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Shripad Yesso Naik is the new Minister of State (Independent Charge) of AAYUSH (Independent Charge) and MoS Health & Family Welfareand, shifting him from the charges of MoS Culture (Independent Charge) and MoS Tourism (Independent Charge) now given to Mahesh Sharma.
The charge of MoS Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has also been taken away from Sarbananda Sonowal, who now retains only Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge).
G M Siddeshwara is the new MoS Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises shifting him from the Civil Aviation Ministry now given to Mahesh Sharma.
Nihalchand gets the charge of MoS Panchayati Raj while Upendra Kushwaha is the new MoS, HRD Ministry after shifting him from MoS Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministries.
P Radhakrishnan is the new MoS Road Transport and Highways and Shipping  while Krishan Pal gets the charge of Social Justice and Empowerment, moving him from Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Ministries.
Sanjeev Kumar Balyan retains only MoS Agriculture shedding additional charge of Food Processing Industries Ministry.
Prakash Javadekar is now MoS (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry and has been stripped of the charge of Information and Broadcasting as well as Parliamentary Affairs Ministry.
Significantly, Naqvi, BJP Vice President and a minister in the Vajpayee government, was only made a Minister of State, and Rudy became MoS with Independent Charge but eyebrows went up when Mahesh Sharma, a first time member of Lok Sabha, was made Minister of State with Independent Charge. Ahir was rewarded for his relentless campaign as a whistle-blower in the coal block allocation scam.
Among those rewarded with ministerial berths were Giriraj Singh, Lok Sabha member from Bihar who had made a controversial statement that the place for those who do not like Modi is in Pakistan and Ram Kripal Yadav, a former RJD leader, who defeated Lalu Prasad’s daughter in Patliputra on BJP ticket.
The induction of Rudy, who defeated Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi in Saran, Giriraj Singh and Yadav is seen as an attempt to woo various caste groups in Bihar which will go to Assembly polls next year.
One-third of today’s induction and overall strength of the ministry comes from heartland Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The swearing-in ceremony was attended among others by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien, Modi and his Cabinet colleagues, BJP President Amit Shah and L K Advani.
Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states Vasundhara Raje, Raman Singh, Devendra Fadnavis and Manohar Lal Khattar and
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu of TDP were also present while none from Congress attended the ceremony.
Ahead of the swearing-in, the new ministers had a breakfast meeting with Modi at his Race Course residence.
An IIT graduate, 58-year-old Parrikar shares an excellent rapport with Modi and has a reputation for probity and administrative skills.
Prabhu also earned his reputation as a skillful operator and reformer as Power minister in Vajpayee government but was suddenly pulled out of the ministry by Shiv Sena. Ever since has has not been seen as an active Sainik.
Dattatreya’s inclusion gives representation to the new Telangana state in the Union ministry while Rudy makes a comeback into the government.
Manohar Parrikar,  and former Shiv Sainik Suresh Prabhu were today inducted into the Union Cabinet as Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought in 21 new faces into his Council of Ministers but Shiv Sena stuck a jarring note holding back a senior leader from joining the Government.
The already-strained BJP-Sena ties further dipped today when Prabhu, Power Minister in Vajpayee Government, deserted the Sena and joined BJP this morning to take oath as a Cabinet Minister.
Senior BJP leader J P Nadda and Jat leader from Haryana Birender Singh, who joined BJP ahead of recent Assembly elections also took oath as Cabinet Ministers.
Bandaru Dattatreya and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who were Ministers in Vajpayee Government, and Mahesh Sharma, newly-elected MP from Gautam Buddh Nagar bordering Delhi, were sworn-in as Ministers of State with Independent Charge.
14 other Ministers of State were sworn-in. They are Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Ram Kripal Yadav, Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, Sanwar Lal Jat and Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya Giriraj Singh, Hansraj Ahir, Ram Shankar Katheria, Jayant Sinha, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Babul Supriyo, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Vijay Sampla (all BJP) and Y S Chowdary, a Rajya Sabha member from TDP.
This is the first expansion of his ministry by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he assumed power in May. Parrikar is all set to be given Defence portfolio, which is held as additional charge by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Significantly, Naqvi, BJP Vice President and a Minister in the Vajpayee Government, was only made a Minister of State, and Rudy became MoS with Independent Charge but eyebrows went up when Mahesh Sharma, a first time member of Lok Sabha, was made Minister of State with Independent Charge. Ahir was rewarded for his relentless campaign as a whistle-blower in the coal block allocation scam.
Among those rewarded with ministerial berths were Giriraj Singh, Lok Sabha member from Bihar who had made a controversial statement that the place for Muslims who do not like Modi is in Pakistan and Ram Kripal Yadav, a former RJD leader who defeated Lalu Prasad’s daughter in Patliputra on BJP ticket.
The induction of Rudy, who defeated Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi in Saran, Giriraj Singh and Yadav is seen as an attempt to woo various caste groups in Bihar which will go to Assembly polls next year.
The strength of the Union Council of Ministers goes up from 45 to 66. Of this, 27 including the Prime Minister are of Cabinet rank, 13 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 26 Ministers of State.
One-third of today’s induction and overall strength of the ministry comes from heartland Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
All the other Ministers of State are newcomers and first-time MPs except Naqvi, Rudy and Yadav, who had been a Member of Parliament either of the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena and BJP today appeared to be on the verge of parting ways in the wake of spat over Cabinet expansion at the Centre and failure to accomodate the Sena in Maharashtra Government in Mumbai.
Sena MP Anil Desai not taking oath as Union Minister today and the induction of Suresh Prabhu, who had been in the Shiv Sena as Cabinet Minister, came as a climax to the growing chasm between the friends-turned-foes.
The simmering tension between them came to a boil today as Desai left for Mumbai from Delhi airport without attending the swearing-in ceremony.
Desai returned to Mumbai on orders of Sena supremo Uddhav Thackaray whose party accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi as also the BJP of a host of broken promises and heaping “humiliation after humiliation” on it.
Union Minister Anant Geete is the lone Shiv Sena representative in the Union Cabinet and the developments could culminate in his being asked by the Sena leadership to quit the Government.
“How much more humiliation we can take?” remarked senior Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire, who had accompanied Desai to Delhi when he rushed to the National Capital for taking oath.
The talk that Uddhav Thackeray will pull the party out of the Government at the Centre and play Opposition in Maharashtra has gained ground ahead of a crucial meeting in Mumbai of the Sena chief with party legislators.
“As things stand now, there is remote possibility of Sena being part of NDA or of the BJP Government in Maharashtra,” a senior Sena leader said.

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