One of the top leaders of the BJP, Rajnath Singh is a man of all seasons who maintains cordial relations with leaders across the political spectrum and enjoys wide acceptability.
The Home Minister in the outgoing government, on whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi banked on heavily in the last five years whenever there was a crisis, be it farmers agitation, violence in Jammu and Kashmir or Jat quota stir, has been appointed Cabinet minister again.
Many see a reflection of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s mannerism in him and feel he has been carrying forward the party veteran’s legacy as ‘Ajatshatru, a man with no enemies.
His good rapport with opposition leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Omar Abdullah had made him government’s pointsman for any discussion with the opposition.
Even during the bitter political campaign, 67-year-old Singh, who was contesting from Lucknow Lok Sabha seat, was never drawn into any ugly war of words with his opponents.
With the task of galvanising the BJP’s organisational machinery to craft a return of the Modi government done, party president Amit Shah is set to combine his astute political mind with his delivery skills to help his mentor Prime Minister Narendra Modi implement his governance agenda in the next five years.
Modi’s decision to bring Shah in his cabinet signals that he will now play a crucial role in the government, effectively the go-to man for the prime minister, several party leaders believe.
However, Rajnath Singh will remain officially the number two in the government, as made clear by him being the first minister to take oath after Modi.
For all practical purposes, he has been the party’s second most powerful leader after Modi since he became its president in 2014 after the BJP-led NDA assumed power.
Shah made his debut in Lok Sabha with a massive win from Gandhinagar, a seat earlier represented by BJP veteran L K Advani.
Shah (54) was a crucial aide to Modi during his near 13-year-old reign as Gujarat chief minister between 2001-14, holding the powerful home portfolio during which he also got embroiled in a case of alleged fake encounter. He was discharged from it.
Known for his administrative prowess and innovative approach in addressing issues, Nitin Jairam Gadkari has been instrumental in pushing infrastructure development and reviving projects stuck for many years.
The 62-year-old senior BJP leader, often dubbed as the one of the high performing ministers during the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, is expected to be entrusted with key responsibilities in the second term too.
Gadkari won the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat with a margin of around 2.13 lakh votes by defeating his former party man and now Congress member Nana Patole.
Whether it is reviving stuck highway projects worth Rs 3.85 lakh crore or starting cargo shipments on Ganga river, Gadkari has been at the forefront of infrastructure development. Some of the key projects are Eastern Peripheral Expressway and Delhi-Meerut Expressway and Zojila tunnel.
She was the first woman to be appointed full-time Defence Minister of India in September 2017 — and since then she has been assiduously trying to adopt a holistic approach in addressing the country’s security challenges.
60-year-old Sitharaman, a Rajya Sabha member, is the second woman to take charge of the crucial ministry after Indira Gandhi who as the Prime Minister also held the portfolio in the seventies.
One of BJP’s chief spokespersons before its ascent to power, Sitharaman is an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University and London School of Economics.
As the Defence Minister, Sitharaman attempted to strengthen the Army, Navy and the Air Force and was credited for expediting the decision making process relating to defence procurement. She constituted a Defence Planning Committee to formulate an “action plan” to effectively deal with various security challenges facing the nation.
Former foreign secretary S Jaishankar today became a part of Narendra Modi’s council of ministers. Jaishankar was the country’s longest-serving foreign secretary in four decades and helped craft much of PM Modi’s foreign policy. He was appointed in
January 2015, just few days before his retirement, replacing Sujata Singh, whose term was abruptly curtailed by the government.
A former ambassador to China, Jaishankar had played a key role in resolving the crisis following the incursion in Ladakh’s Depsang and the Doklam stand-off, handling the tough negotiations with Beijing.
He was also a key member of the team that worked on the nuclear deal with the US. The deal, initiated in 2005, took several years to craft, and was signed by the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh in 2007.
A 1977 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service, Mr Jaishankar was reportedly former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s first choice in 2013 to replace Ranjan Mathai as Foreign Secretary. But Dr Singh was reportedly advised by senior leaders of the Congress to go by seniority, and Sujata Singh was appointed.
After retiring in 2018, he took over as the Tata Group’s president of Global Corporate Affairs.