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Kiren Rijiju, Rameswar Teli represent Northeast in Modi’s council of ministers

Kiren Rijiju, who took oath as a minister of state with independent charge, has been instrumental in the rise of the BJP in Arunachal Pradesh.

May 31, 2019, 08.43 AM IST
Kiren Rijiju (left) and Rameswar Teli
GUWAHATI: Two MPs from northeast India have been included in Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers that was sworn in on Thursday. In the NDA’s previous term, too, the region was represented by two ministers of state.

This time, Rameswar Teli, a BJP tea tribe leader who won the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha seat from Assam, has been included in the Council of Ministers. Kiren Rijiju, who was elected from Arunachal West and was minister of state for home affairs previously, has been retained.

“It is a momentous occasion for me,” Teli said on Thursday. “I am thankful to the people of Assam and ready to accept whatever responsibility the party gives to me.” The BJP’s tally of Lok Sabha seats in Assam rose to nine this time from seven in 2014, while across northeast India, the party won 14 seats compared with eight last time. The BJP and its allies together won 18 of the 25 seats, its best performance in the region.

BJP formed an elected government in Arunachal Pradesh for the first time after winning 41 of the 60 assembly seats in the just-concluded polls. The party also won both the Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Rijiju, who took oath as a minister of state with independent charge, has been instrumental in the rise of the BJP in the state. He has emerged as a pan-northeast India leader and was in charge of Nagaland in 2018, when the BJP and a regional ally formed the government there. Teli, a student leader-turned-politician, is known for his strong connection with the people and still resides in a mud house. He started his public life as leader of the All Assam Tea Student Association.

Teli was first elected to the Assam legislative assembly from Dulijan assembly constituency in 2001 and then won again in 2006. He lost in 2011. He defeated Congress heavyweight and former Union minister Paban Singh Ghatowar in 2014 and 2019 from Dibrugarh parliamentary seat.

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