In a massive cabinet reform, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has removed 12 senior ministers and inducted a youth team aimed at renewing his government’s image after widespread criticism of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEW DELHI – In a massive cabinet reform, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday removed 12 senior cabinet ministers and aimed to rejuvenate his government’s image after widespread criticism of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Joined a youth team.
Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, whose response to the pandemic has come under close scrutiny, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Law and Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar were among those who voted hours before the reshuffle. resigned.
Mansukh Mandaviya will replace Dr Vardhan as the new health minister, a statement from the President’s office said. He is from Modi’s home state Gujarat
President Kovind administered the oath to fifteen cabinet ministers and 28 junior ministers in a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday. Eight junior ministers were promoted to cabinet rank.
Modi retained Home Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Other key portfolios were given to Jyotiraditya Scindia (Civil Aviation), Kiren Rijiju (Law and Justice), Hardeep Singh Puri (Petroleum and Natural Gas), Bhupender Yadav (Environment), Anurag Singh Thakur (Information and Broadcasting) and Dharmendra Pradhan (Education) ).
This is the first cabinet reshuffle after Modi returned to power in 2019 for a second term.
The government is constantly facing criticism for its handling of the pandemic.
Vardhan, who was in charge of the Ministry of Health as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology, led the response to the pandemic.
Well-known journalist and political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay said, “In a clean sweep, your senior ministers are being removed. The government has acknowledged with these changes that it has miserably failed to tackle the pandemic.”
New cases are declining after exceeding 400,000 a day in May, but officials are preparing for another possible wave and trying to ramp up vaccinations.
The reshuffle comes even after Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s defeat in April elections in the key state of West Bengal was a test of its handling of the pandemic.
Modi will face another major test of his popularity in the legislative elections in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand in February and March next year, which could prove to be a hazard to his party’s fortunes in the 2024 national elections. could.