Nitish Downplays NDA's Snub in Cabinet Reshuffle

Bihar Chief Minister and JD chief Nitish Kumar with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI File

Choosing for a position in the central government is said to be Nitish Kumar's strategy to counterbalance the effect of his bitter rival Upendra Kushwaha, chief of RLSP and now Union Minister of State for Education.

The 65-year-old, who took oath as a Minister of State, has served as India's Ambassador to the United Nations in NY and Geneva, and with his decades of diplomatic experience, his presence in the Council would be a rarity. The reshuffle planned by PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah is likely to see many ministers resign in order to make way for new faces. Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have been given Cabinet rank.

Union Railways Minister, Suresh Prabhu, who has been under fire for not being able to tackle the issue of train safety, tweeted indicating that he had resigned.

Singh, a 1975-batch officer of the Bihar cadre, joined the BJP before 2014 election and contested election and won from Arrah in Bihar. An officer of the 1974 batch of IFS, he is known for his experience and expertise in foreign policy and national security.

While RCP Singh is a member of Rajya Sabha, Kushwaha is the MP representing Purnea Lok Sabha constituency. Born in Manimala village in Kerala's Kottayam district, he pioneered the literacy movement in India and as District Collector of Kottayam, he made it the first 100 percent literate town in India in 1989. Like Puri, he is not a Member of Parliament.

He was honoured by the central government in 2008 for his services with the Antrik Suraksha Sewa Padak and a special medal for extraordinary work in naxal-hit areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in 1990.

A favourite of successive CMs, from Vilasrao Deshmukh to Prithrivaj Chavan, Singh was credited with demolishing organised crime syndicates in Mumbai in 1990s. He is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates and Standing Committee on Energy.

A Lok Sabha member from Arrah in Bihar, Singh, 64, was among four former bureaucrats who were sworn in as Union Ministers in the Cabinet reshuffle. He was an active part of the JP movement in the 1970s.

At the young age of 28, he was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time.

Shekhawat is a Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan's Jodhpur. A tech-savvy farmer with a simple lifestyle, he is one of the most followed political leaders on social media.

The sources said in continuation of his track record identifying his fellow team members on the merit of their past performance and future potential, the Prime Minister has selected the new ministers with a mandate to deliver on his vision of new India.

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