Javadekar elevated, M J Akbar inducted in cabinet shuffle

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expanded his council of ministers on Tuesday, inducting 19 new faces and elevating environment minister Prakash Javadekar to the cabinet.

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar (left) has been elevated to cabinet rank, while journalist M J Akbar has been inducted as minister of state  

Also making it to the council of ministers was veteran journalist M J Akbar.

Along with Javadekar, who was minister of state with independent charge of environment, forests and climate change, all the new ministers of state were sworn in by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi in the presence of vice president Hamid Ansari and a galaxy of Union ministers including Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari.

Those sworn into the council of ministers were Subhash Bhamre, MP from Dhule in Maharashtra; P P Chaudhary, MP from Pali in Rajasthan; Chhotu Ram Chaudhary, MP from Nagaur in Rajasthan; Anupriya Patel, MP from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh; Mansukhbhai Mandavia, MP from Gujarat; Krishna Raj, MP from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh; Ajay Tamta, MP from Almora in Uttarakhand; Mahendra Nath Pandey, MP from Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh; Jasvantsinh Bhabhor, MP from Dahod in Gujarat; Arjun Ram Meghwal, MP from Bikaner in Rajasthan; M J Akbar, MP from Madhya Pradesh; Parshottam Rupala, MP from Gujarat; Anil Madhav Dave, MP from Madhya Pradesh; Rajen Gohain, MP from Nowgong in Assam; Ramdas Athawale, MP from Maharashtra; Vijay Goel, MP from Rajasthan; Ramesh Jigajinagi Chandappa, MP from Bijapur in Karnataka; S S Ahluwalia, MP from Darjeeling in West Bengal; and Faggan Singh Kulaste, MP from Mandla in Madhya Pradesh.

All the new ministers sworn in Tuesday were from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) barring Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale and Apna Dal leader Anupriya Patel.

Five ministers also got the boot in the second reshuffle since the National Democratic Alliance government came to power in May 2014. They are Ram Shankar Katheria (minister of state HRD), Mansukh Bhai Vasava (MoS tribal affairs), Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya (MoS agriculture), Nihalchand (MoS panchayati raj), and Sanwar Lal Jat (MoS water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation).

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had tweeted earlier in the day that she would not be able to attend the swearing-in due to a meeting with the visiting Hungarian foreign minister. She requested the media to not speculate unnecessarily on the matter.

Modi had first expanded his ministry in November 2014.