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23 fresh faces in Modi 2.0 cabinet

Shah and other new faces in Modi's second stint are expected to get heavy duty portfolios such as finance, external affairs and commerce to fill the void.

, ET Bureau|
May 31, 2019, 10.08 AM IST
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Former foreign secretary S. Jaishankar was a surprise candidate for a cabinet minister post since he was serving as a President in the Tata Group post retirement.
New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah led the pack of 23 new faces — drawn from the BJP and NDA ally Shiv Sena — which took oath Thursday evening to become part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet in his second successive tenure.

Shah, seated on the third chair after PM Modi and Rajnath Singh in the front row on the podium, was slated to enter the government since he decided to contest and later won the Gandhinagar seat vacated by party patriarch LK Advani. He is already a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat. The chief architect of Modi's back-toback sweeping victories, Shah is not new to governance as he was Gujarat home minister when Modi was the chief minister.

Shah and other new faces in Modi's second stint are expected to get heavy duty portfolios such as finance, external affairs and commerce to fill the void created as the incumbents of those slots did not find a place this time.

Former foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was a surprise candidate for a cabinet minister post since he was serving as a President in the Tata Group post retirement. Jaishankar, who has been aiding Modi’s foreign policy from behind the scene especially on US, will have to be brought into Rajya Sabha within six months as he is not a member of any of the two Houses of Parliament.

Another eye-catcher was Pratap Chandra Sarangi. The firebrand leader, having RSS links, defeated billionaire BJD politician Rabindra Kumar Jena in Balasore to become a junior minister after his first parliamentary poll victory. Two women and both first-time MPs — Chhattisgarh's Renuka Singh Saruta and West Bengal's Deboshree Choudhury — are all set to become ministers of state.

A powerful tribal leader Saruta was preferred over BJP vice president Saroj Pandey after she defeated senior Congress leader Khelsai Singh from Surguja. Choudhary, who won from West Bengal's Raiganj, is another giant killer. She was rewarded for humbling powerful rivals -- CPM's Mohammad Salim and sitting MP from Congress Deepa Dasmunsi.

In the line of leaders from BJP who defeated tall rivals is also Kailash Choudhary, who defeated Congress' Manvendra Singh — son of former BJP union minister Jaswant Singh — to win the Barmer constituency. The lone first timer from NDA ally Shiv Sena is Arvind Ganpat Sawant.
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