By Nivedita Singh
New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The representation of Rajya Sabha members in the second Narendra Modi government has dropped from 19 to 11 as those who fought tough battles in the Lok Sabha polls have been rewarded handsomely.
In the newly-formed Council of Ministers, out of 11 RS members, six are Cabinet Ministers, two are Ministers of State (Independent Charge) and three are Ministers of State.
In the previous term of PM Modi, 19 ministers belonged to the Rajya Sabha. Out of these, 12 were Cabinet Ministers, two were Ministers of State (Independent Charge) and five Ministers of State.
In the new Modi government, Rajya Sabha MPs Thawarchand Gehlot, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have been made Cabinet Ministers.
Hardeep Singh Puri and Mansukh Mandaviya are Ministers of State (Independent Charge), while Ramdas Athawale, Parshottam Rupala and V. Muraleedharan have been selected as Ministers of State.
In the previous Modi government, the 12 Rajya Sabha members in the Cabinet were Arun Jaitley, Suresh Prabhu, Ravi Shankar Prasad, J.P. Nadda, Chaudhary Birender Singh, Gehlot, Smriti Irani, Javadekar, Pradhan, Goyal, Sitharaman and Naqvi.
Out of these, Jaitley, Prabhu, Nadda and Birender Singh have been dropped, while Prasad and Irani are Ministers again but as Lok Sabha members.
In the last Council of Ministers, the Ministers of State (Independent Charge) from the Rajya Sabha were K.J. Alphons and Puri.
In the last Union Council of Ministers, Rajya Sabha members M. J. Akbar, Shiv Pratap Shukla, Athawale, Parshottam Rupala, and Vijay Goel were Ministers of State. However, only Athawale and Rupala retained their position in the current cabinet.
In the current Union Council of Ministers, Javadekar has been given the charge of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, as well as Information and Broadcasting, while Sitharaman is the Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister.
Gehlot and Naqvi will continue to head the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry and the Minority Affairs Ministry, respectively.
Goyal continues his charge as the Minister of Railways with additional charge of the Commerce and Industry Ministry and Pradhan too is continuing as Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, with additional charge of the Steel Ministry.
Among the Ministers of State (Independent Charge), Puri will continue to head the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry along with additional charge of the Civil Aviation Ministry. He will also be Minister of State for Commerce and Industry.
Mandaviya will hold the Shipping Ministry as an independent charge, along with being Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers.
Among the Ministers of State, Athawale will continue with Social Justice and Empowerment while new addition Muraleedharan will be Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs.
Rupala will continue to be the Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
However, the number of RS members in the Council of Ministers may go up as External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan not being MPs.
(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at [email protected])