‘Giant slayers’ rewarded with ministerial berths in Modi cabinet

New Delhi: The Modi government has rewarded MPs who defeated political heavyweights in their respective parliamentary constituencies with their induction in the Union Council of Ministers.

The front-runner for a cabinet berth is Smriti Zubin Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in a closely fought election in Gandhis’ family bastion Amethi, has been inducted as a Cabinet Minister.

Irani in the previous dispensation was given the plum human resource development ministry and later served as the minister for information and broadcasting, and then the Ministry of Textiles.

BJP’s firebrand leader Giriraj Singh, who defeated Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai Lok Sabha seat, was inducted in the Modi government cabinet. Giriraj fought a tough electoral battle against Kumar, who is a vocal critic of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and through crowd-funding raised a considerable amount for his campaign.

Kumar was considered a rage on the social-media and generated a lot of hype during the campaign.

Former Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who defeated Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot in his maiden election from Jodhpur Lok Sabha seat, has also been rewarded with a Cabinet minister’s post. Singh won with margin of 2.75 lakh vote.

Arvind Sawant, Shiv Sena candidate from Mumbai South Lok Sabha seat, also bagged a cabinet berth. He defeated his nearest rival, Congress’s Mumbai chief Milind Deora with over one lakh vote. Before, the elections Deora was considered most favorable to win the seat, and he had Mukesh Ambani as one his admirer, who wished him luck for the election.

Sawant retained his parliamentary seat. He was an engineer with Mahanagar Telephone Network Ltd (MTNL) in the past.

In the list of the giant slayers, candidature of Pratap Chandra Sarangi is in contrast to the rest. Sarangi is known for keeping a minimalist lifestyle and reportedly spent his life commuting on bicycle. He defeated sitting BJD’s MP Rabindra Kumar Jena, an industrialist, and Congress candidate Nabajyoti Patnaik, son of Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik.

He was inducted into the Narendra Modi Cabinet as a minister of state. Sarangi is a two-time independent MLA from Nilgiri in Odisha.