Modi 3.0: In its new list, BJP excludes 16 of 17 ministers who lost

Modi 3.0: In its new list, BJP excludes 16 of 17 ministers who lost

Narayan Rane, Parshottam Rupala and Anurag Thakur — despite winning their respective Lok Sabha seats — were key omissions from the Narendra Modi-led council of ministers that took the oath of office on Sunday evening in the national capital.

The three were cabinet members in the outgoing 72-member Union council of ministers.

From the outgoing council of ministers, the BJP leadership did not include 16 of the 17 ministers who lost the Lok Sabha polls.

Prominent omissions were four Union cabinet ministers in the outgoing council who lost, namely Smriti Irani, RK Singh, Arjun Munda and Mahendra Pandey.

The only exception was L Murugan, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, but lost the Lok Sabha from the Nilgiris seat in Tamil Nadu.

Murugan was a minister of state in the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and also in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Murugan took the oath of office on Sunday evening.

Thakur, the information and broadcasting minister, won a fifth term from Himachal Pradesh’s Hamipur.

Rupala, who faced flak for his comments denigrating a community during his election campaign, won with a huge margin of 484,260 votes from Rajkot.

Rupala was one of the Rajya Sabha members that the BJP had fielded for the Lok Sabha polls. Rupala held the Cabinet portfolio of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying. Rane won from the Raigad-Sindhudurg seat. In the outgoing council of ministers, Rane had held the portfolio of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Thakur, who as Cabinet minister for information and broadcasting, had become the Centre’s face, putting forth the government’s position on key issues and announcing its Cabinet decisions.

“I worked as a party worker in the past and would continue to work as a party worker in the future. Our entire effort is to take India on the path of progress. All of us will walk together because India is important, the Modi government is important and the country's progress is important,” Thakur said on his exclusion from the Union Cabinet.

Other ministers in the outgoing council of ministers who lost and were not included are Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Raosaheb Danve, Niranjan Jyoti, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Ajay Kumar Mishra, Kaushal Kishore and V Muraleedharan.

For the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP did not field a dozen of its ministers from the outgoing 72-member council of ministers. These were VK Singh, Meenakshi Lekhi, Darshana Jardosh, Pratima Bhaumik, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, John Barla, Mahendrabhai Munjapara, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Rameswar Teli, Bishweswar Tudu and Som Prakash.

Among the BJP candidates who lost the Lok Sabha elections but were included in the council of ministers was Ravneet Singh Bittu.

A two term Congress Lok Sabha MP from Ludhiana, Bittu joined the BJP in the run up to the 2024 general elections.

He is the grandson of former Punjab CM Beant Singh, and was briefly Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha when Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was busy with the Bengal Assembly polls in 2021.

Bittu is a rare member of the ministerial council who has been inducted despite his loss. He would have to be elected to the Rajya Sabha within six months.

At least five of the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MPs were elected to the Lok Sabha and would have to quit the Rajya Sabha. This would open up a vacancy for Bittu.

In Punjab, all the BJP candidates lost as it contested all the 13 seats without any allies, increasing its vote share to 18.56 per cent. At several places, BJP candidates faced protests by farmers. Bittu’s loss to Amrinder Singh Raja Warring of the Congress was by a thin margin of 20,942.

His induction to the Union council of ministers suggests the BJP’s long-term interest in expanding its electoral footprint in Punjab.

Among the ministers who lost and were not included, Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Sunday evening deleted a post on social media platform X that said his 18-year-long stint in public service has come to an end.

The BJP leader, in a new post, said that what he meant to say was that his 18-year-long stint as a Member of Parliament and three years as a minister of state has come to an end.

Chandrasekhar, who was the minister of state for information technology, electronics, skill development and entrepreneurship and Jal Shakti in the last Modi government, lost to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat.

An initial post on his handle on X said, “Today curtains down on my 18-year stint in public service, of which three years I had the privilege to serve with PM @narendramodi ji's TeamModi2.0.”

“I certainly didn't intend to end my 18 years of public service as a candidate who lost an election, but that's how it's turned out.” The post also stated that Chandrasekhar extends his thanks to everyone he met and those who supported him, especially the workers and leaders who “inspired and energised” him.