Modi drops five from ministerial team; Najma, Kalraj spared the axe

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New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Five ministers were on Tuesday dropped from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers ahead of the swearing-in of 19 new faces and elevation of Prakash Javadekar to the cabinet rank.

Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra, who were rumoured likely to lose their jobs, were spared.

“The President, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of the following members of the Union council of Ministers with immediate effect,” an official communique said.

The five dropped Ministers of State are: Sanwar Lal Jat (Water Resources), Nihalchand (Panchayati Raj), Ram Shankar Katheria (HRD), Mansukh Bhai Vasava (Tribal Affairs), and Mohanbhai Kundaria (Agriculture).

Of the five, at least two — Ram Shankar Katheria and Mohanbhai Kundaria — seemed to have reconciled to their fate and reposed trust in the party leadership.

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Katheria told IANS that perhaps the changes in the ministry were necessitated and the party will enlist his services for organisational assignments, mainly in view of the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

“Mujhe lagta hai ki hum log sangathan mein kaam karenge, chunav hai to hum log jyada kaam karenge (I think we will work in the organisation, we will work more in view of the polls),” Katheria told IANS.

“It was necessary. What kind of reshuffle was needed in the government, I think, honourable Prime Minister did it.”

Gujarat’s Rajkot MP Mohanbhai Kundaria, who was Minister of State for Agriculture, said that he accepted the party’s decision.

“I accept the party’s decision. I am a soldier of the party which gave me several opportunities. I was five-time MLA in Gujarat and two-time MP. I was also made the party’s district president. The party’s decision is right,” he told IANS.

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Heptulla, 76, and Kalraj Mishra, 75, were among the two cabinet ministers whose names were doing the rounds as likely to be dropped from the government, due to their age.

“Due to upcoming assembly elections, both the leaders survived,” a BJP leader said.



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