New Delhi: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who was groomed by none other than Loknayak Jaya Prakash Narayan himself, and the officer who had arrested BJP patriarch L K Advani during his Ram Mandir Rath Yatra in Bihar in 1990, Raj Kumar Singh, were two of the party leaders who were inducted in the Narendra Modi-le NDA government at the Center at a function in Delhi on Sunday.
In the mega reshuffle of the cabinet of the Modi administration, four ministers were promoted to the Cabinet rank while nine new ministers, all from the BJP, were added in the Cabinet.
While Choubey was made the Minister of State of the Health and Family Welfare, Singh was given the Independent Charge of the Ministry of State for Power and New and Renewable Energy.
The most glaring change was in the Defense and Railways Ministries with Nirmala Sitharaman given the prized Defense Department so far held by Arun Jaitley, and Piyush Goel replacing Suresh Prabhu as the new Railway Minister of India.
Others who were elevated to the new cabinet posts include Dharmendra Pradhan (Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Minister of Minority Affairs).
Besides Choubey and Singh, other leaders from Bihar in the NDA government include Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan (Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution), BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad (Minister of Law and Justice & Minister of Electronics and Information Technology), Radha Mohan Singh (Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare), Giriraj Singh - Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Ram Kripal Yadav (Minister of State in the Ministry of Rural Development), and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha (Minister of State of the Human Resource Development).
Interestingly, the rumors of Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal – U possibly getting accommodated in the cabinet expansion turned out to be just that – rumor.
JD-U that was part of the so-called Mahagathbandhan in Bihar with Lalu-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the incredibly shrinking Congress Party in the state as recent as July 26 this year, ditched this coalition and joined the NDA after a hiatus of nearly four years.
Party leaders tried to downplay the frustration of not getting a place in the Modi cabinet saying no one in the party had expected to be given berths after only being in the NDA for a month.