Ex-Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan To Be Agriculture Minister


Ex-Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan – who orchestrated the BJP’s thumping win in the Assembly election last year, but was stood down from returning in that role – is the new Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, replacing the BJP’s senior tribal leader Arjun Munda.

The AgrIculture Ministry is among the more high-profile in the Narendra Modi government, given continuing tension with farmers since the 2020 protests over the three farm laws.

Discontent among the farmers has been seen as one reason why the BJP fared poorly in states like Uttar Pradesh, where it got only 29 seats in this election, compared to 62 in 2019 and 71 in 2014. The BJP also won fewer seats in states like Punjab and Haryana, from where farmers also protested.

Mr Chouhan contested the 2024 Lok Sabha election from his Vidisha stronghold, which he won by a margin of over 8.2 lakh votes; he won this seat in five consecutive elections between 1991 and 2004.

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The raft of cabinet announcements made Monday included some surprises and some big names retaining their posts. Chief among the latter were the Big 4 – the Home, Defence, Finance, and External Affair. Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, and S Jaishankar have retained these positions.

Senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari retains his Road Transport and Highways post, and Ashwini Vaishnaw has retained his Railways portfolio with Information and Broadcasting added. 

READ | Ex-Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan Is Agriculture Minister

New faces include ex-Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has been rewarded for orchestrating his party’s thumping Assembly win last year by being made Agriculture Minister.

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Another ex-Chief Minister – Haryana’s ML Khattar – is Power and Housing and Urban Affairs Minister.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha election the BJP won 240 seats on its own – 32 below the majority mark – but managed to form the government for a third consecutive time thanks to 53 seats from National Democratic Allies, particularly the TDP and Nitish Kumar’s JDU. These two contributed 16 and 12 MPs.

The JDU has got two berths, of which one – Panchayati Raj – has gone to senior leader Lalan Singh.

The TDP, which had asked for four and the Lok Sabha Speaker’s Chair, has been given two, one of which is Civil Aviation, to be given to Srikakulam MP Ram Mohan Naidu.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who will take the Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy, and Space ministries – was sworn in on Sunday evening for a record third time with a cabinet of 71 ministers, including 30 of cabinet rank.

The opposition INDIA bloc – led by the Congress – won 293 seats to put up an unexpectedly close fight. There was speculation the Congress would reach out to Chandrababu Naidu, who was once a UPA member. and Nitish Kumar, who helped found the INDIA bloc, to convince them to dump the BJP and come onboard, but that has not materialised, for now.

From the southern states – regions in which the BJP usually struggled, and did so again, with zero seats in Tamil Nadu and a drop of 11 in Karnataka. From the latter state, though, Janata Dal (Secular) boss HD Kumaraswamay has been given Heavy Industries and Steel.

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 Ex-Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is the new Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister, replacing the BJP’s senior tribal leader Arjun Munda.    

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