Cabinet Expansion 2021: Sonowal, Scindia, others sworn-in as Modi's ministers
The swearing-in ceremony for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new Union Cabinet Ministers took place on Wednesday. Modi will be expanding his Cabinet, the first expansion in his second term as Prime Minister. BJP leaders Prakash Javdekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Dr. Harsh Vardhan—who have now resigned as Union Ministers—were also present at the ceremony, which took place at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi.
Rane, Sonowal, Scindia, others take oath
Narayan Tatu Rane, Sarbananda Sonowal, Dr. Virendra Kumar, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ramachandra Prasad Singh, Ashwini Vasihnaw, were among the 43 ministers who took their oath of office on Wednesday. Their names had been released earlier. As yet, it remains unknown which ministries they will be allocated. Shortly before the ceremony, President Ram Nath Kovind had accepted the resignations of 12 Union Ministers.
Modi held key meeting at residence earlier today
Earlier on Wednesday, the PM had met ministerial probables at his official residence in Delhi. Most senior leaders of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Cabinet ministers were present during the meeting, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP chief JP Nadda, former Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal, MoS GK Reddy, MoS Kiren Rijiju, BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, among others.
Meeting at Modi's official residence
Health, Education, Labour Ministers among 12 who quit
Ahead of the Cabinet expansion, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan had quit, reportedly over the poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar also resigned, reportedly due to the migrant crisis. Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, MoS Environment Babul Supriyo, MoS Fisheries Pratap Sarangi, Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, among others, also quit.
Yesterday, Modi's meeting was canceled; new ministry announced
Earlier on Tuesday, Modi's meeting with ministers and Nadda was canceled. Separately, eight new Governors were appointed: Bandaru Dattatreya (Haryana), Hari Babu Kambhampati (Mizoram), Mangubhai Chhaganbhai Patel (Madhya Pradesh), PS Sreedharan Pillai (Goa), Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar (Himachal Pradesh), Ramesh Bais (Jharkhand), Satyadev Narayan Arya (Tripura), and Thawar Chand Gehlot (Karnataka). A new 'Ministry of Co-operation' was also announced late on Tuesday.
Union Cabinet can have 81 members
The Union Cabinet can have up to 81 members, but until today, there were only 53 (i.e. there were 28 vacancies). Several ministers also carried the additional charge for multiple ministries. Earlier, it was reported that the decision to expand the Cabinet will be taken considering the upcoming state Assembly elections next year and the 2024 general elections.