Modi 3.0: These Maharashtra MPs to be inducted as cabinet ministers | Latest News India

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By Mahtab Ahmad

Mumbai: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Raksha Khadse, 37, a third-term member of parliament (MP) from Raver in north Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district, will take oath as the cabinet minister in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government on Sunday alongside Prataprao Jadhav of Shiv Sena and former Union minister of state, Ramdas Athawale.

The oath taking ceremony will take place on Sunday evening (File Photo)
The oath taking ceremony will take place on Sunday evening (File Photo)

Raksha is the daughter-in-law of senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Eknath Khadse. In north Maharashtra, the BJP this time could retain only two of the six Lok Sabha seats, which had won five in 2019. 

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A ministerial berth to Raksha is also a representation of the OBC [Other Backward Class] in north Maharashtra.

Raksha won the Jalgaon Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 3.36 lakh votes against her nearest rival Shriram Patil of the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar).

Raksha began her political career as Sarpanch of Kothali, the native village of Khadses. Later, she was elected to the district council of Jalgaon and chairperson of the women and child welfare committee.

Four-term Buldhana MP Prataprao Jadhav, 64, has been picked for the Union cabinet berth as the senior most MP of his party. 

In the 2024 Lok Sabha election, he defeated his nearest rival Narendra Khedekar of Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena by a close margin of 29,479. 

Before being elected as an MP for the first time in 2009, he was MLA from Mehkar for three consecutive terms since 1995. He was made minister of state for sports and irrigation between 1997 and 1999 in the then Manohar Joshi-led Shiv Sena-BJP government.

Jadhav is a Maratha leader with strong support of the community organisations in Vidarbha. 

A section of Maratha leaders in the Shinde camp believes that a ministerial berth to Jadhav is likely to help the chief minister deal with Maratha agitators who are at loggerheads with the government over the quota issue.

Republican Party of India-Athawale faction leader Ramdas Athawale, 65, is a member of the Rajya Sabha and was the Union minister of state for social justice in the earlier Modi government.

Athawale began his political and social career in the early 1970s by participating in the Dalit Panther movement. He was an aggressive ground-level leader during the Panther movement.

Known to side with the ruling parties, Athawale got a major break in active politics when former Maharashtra chief minister and veteran leader Sharad Pawar made him cabinet minister in the Maharashtra government in the early 1990s.

Later, Congress gave him a Lok Sabha ticket from Mumbai and Pandharpur and ensured his victory. In 2009, Athwale lost in the Shirdi constituency and was not considered for the ministerial berth in the then United Progressive Alliance government.

After the Modi-led BJP government came into power at the Centre in 2014, Athawale joined the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and was made a minister in 2016.

Despite having not contested a single seat in the recent Lok Sabha election, PM Modi has hand-picked him for a ministerial berth considering his clout among Dalit voters. In the backdrop of Dalit voters shifting to the opposition INDIA bloc, Athwale’s support is considered significant as Maharashtra Assembly polls are slated to be held in October this year.

President Droupadi Murmu will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Modi and his cabinet ministers at 7:15pm on Sunday, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Forecourt.

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