Piyush Goyal: BJP's go-to man to head Railways and Commerce

A chartered accountant by profession, Piyush Goyal will replace Suresh Prabhu as India's new commerce and industry minister in Modi 2.0.

Modi Cabinet 2.0: Shah gets Home, Rajnath Defence, Nirmala first woman Finance Minister
Known for his corporate network developed during his days as an investment banker, BJP's go-to man Piyush Goyal has been given the charge of Railways, Commerce and Industry ministries in Modi's new cabinet. Goyal first made his mark in BJP as a treasurer and held portfolios in coal, power, railways and finance.

The 54-year-old chartered accountant is known for his corporate network developed during his days as an investment banker and is considered to be a key backroom strategist who played a significant role in resource mobilisation of the party.

Considered a blue-eyed boy of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, Goyal was given the finance portfolio in May last year which he held till August, while Arun Jaitley was recuperating from a kidney transplant.


He was again handed over the charges of the Finance Ministry in January this year, when Jaitley fell ill and presented the Interim Budget in Parliament.

Political observers say the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has not appointed another treasurer after Goyal, depends on him to raise funds for the party.

Known to work with a team of around 20 trusted advisors, mostly graduates of top business schools, Goyal has facts, figures, spreadsheets on the activities of his ministry at his disposal at all times. In fact, most of his public engagements through the day are streamed live on Twitter by his team.
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As a railway minister, Goyal, a Rajya Sabha member, achieved several firsts -- it was during his tenure the government announced its first bullet train which would run from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, the prime minister's home state, manufactured its first indigenously-built and engine-less high-speed train Vande Bharat Express, commissioned its longest bridge, converted a diesel loco into an electric one for the first time, built its first transport university, its first air-conditioned local train and perhaps its biggest first in last three decades - lowest accident figures.

Meet the men and women who will run India for the next 5 years
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PM Modi's new cabinet is in. These are the men and women who will matter to you for the next five years.
PM Modi's new cabinet is in. These are the men and women who will matter to you for the next five years.
Experience: 1 Rajya Sabha Term
Outgoing: Rajnath Singh

From a polling booth in-charge to heading the world’s largest political party to cabinet minister, the journey of BJP president Amit Anilchandra Shah has been stupendous to say the least.

For 14 years in Gujarat, Shah was the most trusted lieutenant of then CM Narendra Modi. His career suffered a brief setback in 2010, when he, as the MoS home of Gujarat, was arrested in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter cases. He was granted bail on the condition that he would stay away from Gujarat. But Shah used his time in Delhi to not just sort out his legal problems but also understand the nitty-gritty of national politics.

Immediately after the 2014 LS polls, Shah was elevated to BJP president. Incidentally, Shah honed his political skills in his home state Gujarat, where he started as a booth manager in the Gandhinagar constituency – the seat which he won this year with a record margin of 5.57 lakh votes. When he’s not busy with politics, Shah likes playing chess and watching theatre. He also likes to learn new languages.
Experience: 1 Rajya Sabha Term Outgoing: Rajnath Singh From a polling booth in-charge to heading the world’s largest political party to cabinet minister, the journey of BJP president Amit Anilchandr..
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Experience: 2 Lok Sabha, 2 Rajya Sabha Terms
Outgoing minister: Nirmala Sitaraman

A seasoned politician of many decades and former party president, Rajnath Singh was instrumental in pitching for Narendra Modi as prime minister, as mandated by the RSS. In the last government, he was an efficient home minister who kept a low profile. He implemented the party’s tough line on terror, asking security agencies to act impartially on intelligence inputs. He also adopted a policy of rehabilitation for individuals who might have been radicalised, but had not yet committed a crime and were open to reconsidering their choices.

As a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, his presence will balance caste and regional equations in the top levels of government. He has experience as a political manager, having been drafted in to seal alliances and sort out inner-party crises in the past.
Experience: 2 Lok Sabha, 2 Rajya Sabha Terms Outgoing minister: Nirmala Sitaraman A seasoned politician of many decades and former party president, Rajnath Singh was instrumental in pitching for Nar..
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Experience: 2 Rajya Sabha Terms
Outoing Minister: Arun Jaitley

The last five years have seen a meteoric rise of this former JNU student, who joined the BJP just over a decade ago. She was nominated as party spokesperson in 2010. Under the government led by AB Vajpayee, she served as a member of the NCW 2003 till 2005.

The two time Rajya Sabha member started out in May 2014 as an unsure minister of state with independent charge of commerce and industry. In September 2017, she went on to become India’s first full-time woman defence minister and a member of the hallowed cabinet committee on security.

As the ‘Raksha Mantri’, Sitharaman took some time to find her feet in the complex defence ministry, and the overwhelmingly male dominated environs of the armed forces, with all its national security challenges. It was, of course, not easy to follow heavy-weight predecessors like Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony, Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar.

She was also confronted with the tough task of countering Congress’ charge of crony capitalism in the Rs 59,000-crore Rafale deal, inked during Parrikar’s tenure. She vigourously defended the government’s stand on the defence deal. There was persistent talk she was kept out of the loop on major decisions, like the pre-dawn air strikes on the JeM facility in Balakot. But the earnest minister, who rarely smiles, did not let go. She retains PM Modi’s trust.
Experience: 2 Rajya Sabha Terms Outoing Minister: Arun Jaitley The last five years have seen a meteoric rise of this former JNU student, who joined the BJP just over a decade ago. She was nominated ..
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Experience: No Parliamentary Experience
Outgoing: Sushma Swaraj

Former foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s induction in the Modi government as an MoS is hardly a surprise to foreign policy wonks. Jaishankar, son of the strategic affairs expert K Subrahmanyam, has been Modi’s go-to man on foreign policy since his Gujarat CM days. Jaishankar was then India’s ambassador to China, and the two met whenever Modi visited. In January 2015, Jaishankar was days away from his retirement when he was dramatically made foreign secretary by Modi. As foreign secretary, Jaishankar worked the back channels to end the India-China standoff at Doklam. His tenure as FS was later extended by a year. Jaishankar joined the Tata group three months after his retirement and after the “cooling-off period’’ of a year for bureaucrats was waived off by the government in his case.

An IFS officer from the 1977 batch, he served as India’s ambassador to the US, China Singapore and Czech Republic. He also led the negotiations for the India-US nuclear deal between 2004 and 2008.
Experience: No Parliamentary Experience Outgoing: Sushma Swaraj Former foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s induction in the Modi government as an MoS is hardly a surprise to foreign policy wonks. Jaish..
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Outgoing: Suresh Prabhu

Chartered accountant-turned-politician Piyush Goyal was in charge of some of the top portfolios in the Modi government. Goyal seems to have been the BJP government’s SOS minister. He twice stepped in for ailing colleague Arun Jaitley as finance and corporate affairs minister. As power minister, Goyal launched some of the administration’s marquee schemes aimed at reviving the sector and has led the new and renewable energy drive in the country. Goyal also launched the UJALA scheme aimed at distribution of energy-efficient LED bulbs.

Experience:
1. Minister for finance and corporate affairs (May-Aug 2018; Jan-Feb 2019)

2. Minister for railways (Sept 2017-19)

3. Minister for mines (July 2016-Sept 2017)

4. Minister for power, coal and new and renewable energy (May 2014-Sept 2017)

5. National treasurer, BJP (March 2010-May 2014)

Outgoing: Suresh Prabhu Chartered accountant-turned-politician Piyush Goyal was in charge of some of the top portfolios in the Modi government. Goyal seems to have been the BJP government’s SOS ..
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Outgoing: Maneka Gandhi

From Miss India contestant to soap opera star to giant slayer, Smriti Irani’s career has not had a dull moment. Irani captured India’s imagination as ‘Tulsi’ in one of the most successful running soaps of all time. In 2004, when most would have been thinking of graduating to a film career, Irani chose politics running an unsuccessful but feisty campaign against Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk. In a nod to her fighting spirit, Irani was made Rajya Sabha member in 2011, and held several positions in parliamentary committees till 2014 when she challenged Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. She lost the poll battle but won a cabinet position in the Modi government.

Controversies though were not far behind (least of which were her “fake” educational qualification), and soon she was divested of the ‘sensitive’ HRD portfolio to I&B ministry. There, too, a controversial proposal to reign in ‘fake news’ placed the government in crisis that could only be defused after the notification was withdrawn. She appeared to have lost favour and moved to textiles but her dogged campaign against the ‘lapata saansad’ (read Rahul Gandhi) which led to a shock victory in the Gandhi pocket borough of Amethi has cemented her political career.
Outgoing: Maneka Gandhi From Miss India contestant to soap opera star to giant slayer, Smriti Irani’s career has not had a dull moment. Irani captured India’s imagination as ‘Tulsi’ in one of the mo..
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Hardeep Singh Puri, 67 (BJP Rajya Sabha MP, UP): A career diplomat, Puri joined BJP in 2014 and took charge of the ministry of housing and urban affairs in 2017. He was elected as a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh in 2018. A 1974 batch IFS officer, Puri has been a vocal critic of the Arvind Kejriwalled AAP government in Delhi over issues related to Delhi Metro projects and fare hikes.

Experience:

1. MoS (independent charge) of housing & urban affairs (2017-2019)

2. Permanent representative of India to the UN (2009-2013)

3. Secretary in ministry of external affairs (2009 to 2013)

Hardeep Singh Puri, 67 (BJP Rajya Sabha MP, UP): A career diplomat, Puri joined BJP in 2014 and took charge of the ministry of housing and urban affairs in 2017. He was elected as a Rajya Sabha mem..
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Experience: 1 Lok Sabha Term

Gadkari earned his spurs as PWD minister in Maharashtra by delivering the Mumbai-Pune expressway and 55 flyovers in Mumbai, earning him sobriquets like ‘bridge bhushan’ and ‘flyover man’.

However, Gadkari’s straight-shooting often gives rise to controversies. Last year, he said the government would not give the Navy an inch of land for housing in South Mumbai. Or even more embarrassing, he said it was wrong to call fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya a thief after one loan default. In the last few months, he made several cryptic comments that were seen as barbs at the leadership.

All that seems water under the bridge now, and the RSS favourite is once again in the driver’s seat. After all, not only does he have a strong record as union minister for road transport and shipping, he has also been BJP’s trouble shooter in Goa, sorting out the political chaos that ensued after the death of Manohar Parrikar. This wasn’t the first time Gadkari was asked to pitch in. In 2017, when BJP failed to get a majority in the Goa Assembly polls, Gadkari had flown to the state to help the party cobble up an alliance with smaller partners, after which a government was formed under Parrikar’s leadership.
Experience: 1 Lok Sabha Term Gadkari earned his spurs as PWD minister in Maharashtra by delivering the Mumbai-Pune expressway and 55 flyovers in Mumbai, earning him sobriquets like ‘bridge bhushan’ ..
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Pradhan’s stint as petroleum minister was marked by policy reforms and a successful attempt at taking clean cooking gas to the masses. Access to cooking gas expanded to more than 94% of the country’s households from 56% five years ago. Deregulation of diesel reignited interest from private and foreign companies in the fuel retailing business and helped cut fuel subsidies. A gas pipeline that will take gas to much of eastern India is nearing completion while a record number of city gas licences have been distributed. Pradhan’s unfinished agenda includes getting more foreign and private players to enter the upstream business, building a gas grid and developing a domestic gas market.

Experience:

1. Minister for petroleum and natural gas (2014-19)

2. Minister for skill development and entrepreneurship (Sept 2017-2019)

3. BJP national general secretary (since 2010)

Pradhan’s stint as petroleum minister was marked by policy reforms and a successful attempt at taking clean cooking gas to the masses. Access to cooking gas expanded to more than 94% of the country..
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He is also credited for making transformational changes in India's power sector, including fast tracking of electrification of nearly 18,000 unelectrified villages, roll out of UDAY, a comprehensive reform of the power sector, world's largest LED bulb distribution programme, UJALA for energy efficiency and a massive renewable energy expansion programme.

Goyal, a technology buff, has also taken the initiative of digitising governance which he says brings transparency in the government -- from e-auction of coal blocks to free WiFi across railway stations and live feed for passengers of how railway meals are cooked and packed -- as a minister he has taken strides in using technology to simplify working of the ministries under him.
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From an illustrious political family, his father Vedprakash Goyal was former Union minister of Shipping, and National Treasurer of the BJP for over two decades and his mother Chandrakanta Goyal was a three time MLA from Mumbai.

(With inputs from Agencies)
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