Irani, Jaishankar, Piyush Goyal, Javadekar take oath of office and secrecy

New Delhi: Smriti Irani, who defeated Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, former foreign secretary S Jaishankar, Piyush Goyal, Harsh Vardhan, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar were among those sworn in as Union Ministers on Thursday. Former chief ministers of Uttarakhand and Jharkhand Ramesh Pokhriyal and Arjun Munda respectively also took oath of office and secrecy as Union ministers.

Smriti Irani takes oath as cabinet minister

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Giriraj Singh and Shiromani Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal were also sworn-in by President Ram Nath Kovind. Goyal, Irani, Javadekar, Vardhan, Badal, Pradhan and Naqvi have been retained as ministers in the new government.

Irani had defeated Gandhi by a margin of over 50,000 from the Congress stronghold of Amethi. She is expected to be awarded with a plum portfolio. The inclusion of Jaishankar, who also served as India’s envoy to the US and China, came as a surprise. He is not a member of Parliament.

Pralhad Joshi from Karnataka and Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant also took oath as Union ministers for the first time. BJP’s prominent face from the Northeast Kiren Rijiju, Santosh Gangwar, Shripad Naik, Jitendra Singh, Rao Inderjit Singh, R K Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Mansukh Mandaviya were administered oath of office and secrecy as Minister of States with independent charge. All were members of the previous Council of Ministers.

Some of the key ministers in the previous Modi government, including Sushma Swaraj, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Maneka Gandhi were not part of the new dispensation. Top opposition leaders including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, corporate honchos, film stars, chief ministers and a galaxy of leaders from BIMSTEC countries were among the nearly 8,000 guests at the ceremony.