From farmer to lawyer, new faces from different backgrounds make it to Cupboard

From a 52-year-old farmer, to a career lawyer and a former IAS officer with a business degree from one of the top schools in world, the new council of ministers has a motley mix of young, experienced and highly educated new entrants, even as it strives to remain inclusive and representative.

“There are 14 Ministers below 50 years of age, including six Cabinet Ministers,” said one person familiar with the thinking behind the composition of the council.

Among the new inductees is Pratima Bhoumik, 52, who is serving her first term as a member of Parliament from Tripura West. An agriculturist by profession, Bhoumik has a degree in bio-sciences from Women’s College, Agartala.

A former IAS officer, Ashwini Vaishnaw hails from Odisha and joined the BJP as recently as 2019 after becoming a member of the Rajya Sabha . But Vaishnav, 51, is no stranger to the party. He served as the private secretary to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2004, after serving a brief stint with the Prime Minister’s office during Vajpayee’s term in 2002. He was educated at MBM Engineering College, Jodhpur, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and Wharton Business School. In 2006, he also served as the deputy chairman of Goa’s Mormugoa Port Trust.

BJP’s state president from Tamil Nadu, L. Murugan, 44, also finds his way into the council. A Dalit leader, Murugan will have to become a member of Parliament within six months of his appointment to continue as a minister in the union cabinet. A career lawyer, he was the former vice chairperson for the national commission for schedule castes. He has a doctorate in Human Rights Law from the Department of Legal studies, University of Madras.

Thirty-nine-year-old Shantanu Thakur is a member of parliament from Bagaon, West Bengal, which is a reserved constituency. He is the first non-TMC parliamentarian to be elected from the constituency ever since its delimitation in 2002. Thakur is the son of former Bengal minister for Refugee Relief & Rehabilitation (Independent Charge), Micro & Small-Scale Enterprises and Textiles Manjul Krishna Thakur. He is a member of the standing committee on Commerce at present.

Bhiwandi (Maharashtra) member of parliament Kapil Patil is serving his second term in the Lok Sabha. The 60-year-old started his political career in the 1980s and became the Sarpanch of Dive-Anjur Gram Panchayat, from 1988-1992. He has also served as the Chairman of the Thane District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd, and President of Bhartiya Janata Party, Thane District. A former member of the Nationalist Congress party, Patil joined the BJP in 2014 ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

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