Cabinet Expansion Has Modi-Shah Stamp On It

By Pragya Kaushika

The expansion of Union Council of Ministers carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has his stamp and several leaders considered close to Home Minister Amit Shah have found a place.

Some of those considered close to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and those considered close to the RSS have also found a place, sources said.

Leaders considered close to Shah who were inducted as ministers on Wednesday include Narayan Rane, Bhupendra Yadav, SPS Baghel, Bhupendra Yadav, Meenakshi Lekhi, Darshana Jardosh, Rajeev Chandrashekhar and Ajay Bhatt. Anurag Thakur and G Kishen Reddy have been elevated as cabinet ministers.

Nishit Pramanik, John Barla and Shantanu Thakur are also considered close to Shah. Subhash Sarkar is learnt to have the backing of the Sangh.

Bharti Pravin Pawar and Kapil Moreshwar Patil are considered close to former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. The suggestion to induct Pratima Bhowmik, MP from Tripura and BL Verma, a Rajya Sabha MP, in the council of ministers, is learnt to have come from the organisation and was backed by the Prime Minister, sources said.

MPs from UP including Pankaj Choudhary and Kaushal Kishore are considered close to Rajnath Singh.

Forty-three leaders took oath in the first union cabinet expansion and reshuffle of the Modi government in its second term. The rejig saw OBCs, SCs and youth getting more representation.

Senior BJP leaders say an attempt is being made to accommodate various castes and communities in wake of impending assembly elections in crucial states including Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. (ANI)

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