Giving A major fillip to the BJP’s third generation of leaders since the party was founded by A B Vajpayee and L K Advani in 1980, Prime Minister Narendra Modi 03 September 2017 rolled out his third Cabinet reshuffle by naming Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister, assigning the politically crucial Railways portfolio to Piyush Goyal and giving additional charge of Skill Development to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. All the three were elevated to Cabinet rank.
Sitharaman’s appointment, which made her the second woman to hold the Defence portfolio after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was the obvious highlight but the reshuffle also underlined a deeper political pattern within the BJP. The elevation of Sitharaman, Goyal and Pradhan brings them in the league of other leaders under 60 years of age, such as Nitin Gadkari, J P Nadda and Smriti Irani, in the Union Cabinet and furthers the BJP’s plan of political promotion for its third generation of leaders.
Among the nine new Ministers of State, three, R K Singh, Hardeep Puri and K J Alphons, have been given independent charge of Power, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Tourism, respectively. The remaining six are Shiv Pratap Shukla (Finance), Ashwini Choubey (Health), Virendra Kumar (Social Justice and Minority Affairs), Anant Kumar Hegde (Skill Development), Gajendra Shekhawat (Agriculture) and Satyapal Singh (HRD & Water Resources).