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UP, Bihar get big slices of Modi’s Cabinet berths

Four Cabinet ministers, one minister of state (independent charge) and three MoS are from Uttar Pradesh.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 31, 2019, 08.25 AM IST
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BJP’s Bihar unit chief Nityanand Rai
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NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh and Bihar expectedly got a handsome representation in the new council of ministers following the stellar performance of the BJP-led NDA in the two key Hindi heartland states.

By inducting four Cabinet ministers, one minister of state (independent charge) and three ministers of state from UP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ensured representation of almost every important part of the state where the BJP bagged 62 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Apart from Prime Minister Modi, who represents eastern UP’s Varanasi seat, Rajnath Singh (Awadh’s Lucknow), Smriti Irani (Awadh’s Amethi), Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Rajya Sabha) and Mahendra Nath Pandey (eastern UP’s Chandauli) have been made cabinet ministers. Santosh Gangwar, who represents Bareilly Lok Sabha seat (western UP), has been made minister of state (independent charge).

Irani defeated Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his family bastion of Amethi while Pandey is currently the president of the BJP’s UP unit and his Chandauli constituency shares boundaries with the PM’s constituency, Varanasi.

While General (retd) VK Singh (Ghaziabad) and Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan (Muzaffarnagar), both ministers of state, are from western UP, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (minister of state) represents Bundelkhand’s Fatehpur seat.

In Bihar, where the BJP won all the 17 seats it contested as its share in the alliance, apart from LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Giriraj Singh has been made a cabinet minister. Singh was a minister of state (independent charge) in the previous Modi government. His elevation is significant in view of the Bihar assembly polls due in November 2020 since he is the BJP’s “Bhumihar face” in Bihar.

The BJP MP from Ara, RK Singh, has again been made minister of state (independent charge), and the PM has also retained minister of state Ashiwini Choubey in the new government.

A new face in this government is the BJP’s Bihar unit chief Nityanand Rai, 52, who happens to be the party’s Yadav face. Rai defeated the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha in Ujiarpur Lok Sabha constituency by a good margin of votes, winning the seat for a second consecutive term. Kushwaha had left the NDA and subsequently joined the opposition alliance ahead of the general election.
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