For the crores of citizens across the country, Sunday morning was not the usual off day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s major cabinet reshuffle was scheduled to take place and the portfolio division was what everyone was waiting for. With Suresh Prabhu offering to give up his railway minister post just a week ago, owing to the numerous rail derailments across the country, the reshuffle had taken an even more interesting twist.
And there were four ministers who shined bright, Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Dharmendra Pradhan, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas has been given additional responsibilities with Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. Rajeev Pratap Rudy held the position earlier. The skill development ministry, a rather recent one, bore the burden of functioning with other ministries as well.
Man with Big Goals
Pradhan, who has been lauded for his work in the Petroleum and Natural gas sector, will now hold the responsibility of delivering the promises before the 2019 general elections. Two of the schemes rolled out under his leadership – PAHAL and Ujjwala have received great responses. PAHAL or the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG even found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest cash transfer programme. Under the Ujjwala scheme, the government has promised over 5 crore LPG connections by 2019 to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families with a support of Rs1,600 per connection.
Riding on these successes, he will now be looking at implementing major changes in the skill development ministry. With entrepreneurship too falling into his kitty and the government of India pushing for the success of Startup India, Standup India, it’s inevitable that the pressure on Pradhan’s shoulders will be a lot.
The Young Leader
The 48-year-old leader is a close confidante of Amit Shah and has also been reported to have played a major role in Modi’s historic 2014 general elections win. Over the years, with his successful programmes he has made a mark in politics. Known to be a go-getter in the industry, one of Pradhan’s most recent achievements is ending the dispute between the Odisha government and Indian Oil Corporation for the 40,000 crore Paradip refinery project. His Give It Up project (to let go of subsidised cooking gas) has also been noticed as one of the reasons why BJP emerged victorious in Uttar Pradesh.
The Next CM candidate for Odisha?
From Talcher, Odisha, Pradhan has been the face of BJP in Odisha. Pradhan’s promotion has also come in right before the upcoming Odisha Assembly Elections. Shah has also been pushing for Pradhan to be at the helm of the 2019 elections in Odisha. If he does turn out to be successful, Pradhan will be responsible for bringing back the BJP in power in Odisha, a state that has been ruled by BJD and its frontman Naveen Patnaik since the last 17 years.