As many as 43 leaders took oath as ministers on Wednesday in the first reshuffle and expansion of the Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet since it assumed power for a second term in May 2019.
Of the 43 who were sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind, 15 leaders have been allotted ministries of Cabinet rank, whereas 28 others will assume office as ministers of state, an official statement said.
Anurag Thakur, Kiren Rijiju, Mansukh Mandaviya, G Kishan Reddy and Hardeep Singh Puri have been promoted to Cabinet rank ministers from their previous portfolios of ministers of state and independent charge.
Among the new faces, Jyotiraditya Scindia, who defected from the Congress last year and former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal are the prominent names. Lok Janshakti Party chief Pashupati Kumar Paras was also inducted into the Cabinet. The move is a vote of confidence for Paras, who staged a coup against his nephew Chirag Paswan, following which the Bharatiya Janata Party ally split into two factions in June.
Soon after the oath taking ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the new ministers. “We will continue working to fulfill aspirations of the people and build a strong and prosperous India,” he said in a tweet.
Details about portfolio allocation of the newly inducted ministers are expected later on Wednesday evening.
Earlier during the day, as many as 12 ministers resigned from the Union Cabinet ahead of the oath-taking ceremony. The exits of Information Technology and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar stood out during the revamp.
The rejig came as the government is facing severe criticism for its handling of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and rising prices of essential items in the country. This also comes ahead of Assembly elections in five states next year.