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Some Old Faces, Some New: Major Leaders From South India in the Modi 3.0 Cabinet

Five Cabinet ministers and eight Ministers of State from the five south Indian states were sworn in.

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As many as five Cabinet ministers and eight Ministers of State from the five south Indian states – Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh – were sworn into the Modi 3.0 government on Sunday, 9 June. Two ministerial posts were given to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and one to Janata Dal (Secular), both of whom are the major regional allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

From Karnataka, the BJP's Nirmala Sitharaman and Pralhad Joshi were sworn in as Cabinet ministers, whereas Shobha Karandlaje and V Somanna got MoS posts. JD(S) chief and former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy also received a Cabinet post.

A surprise name from the state was that of George Kurian – the only Christian MP in the Modi 3.0 government. Meanwhile, Kerala saw its first BJP MP Suresh Gopi take oath as MoS.

From Telangana, senior BJP leaders G Kishan Reddy and Bandi Sanjay Kumar took oath as Cabinet minister and MoS, respectively.

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In Andhra Pradesh, while the TDP's Ram Mohan Naidu was given a Cabinet Minister post, Chandra Sekhar Pemmasani got an MoS post. Bhupathi Raju Srinivasa Varma, a BJP MP from the state, was sworn in as an MoS.

As for Tamil Nadu, only L Murugan – a Rajya Sabha MP and former state BJP chief – was sworn in as MoS. Current BJP Tamil Nadu Annamalai's name was doing the rounds for a ministerial position. He, however, wasn't given any post. The party won no seats in the state in the Lok Sabha elections.

Here are some takeaways:

Karnataka: From 2.0 to 3.0 Modi Cabinet

Former finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka is back in the Modi 3.0 Cabinet; so is five-time Dharwad MP Pralhad Joshi, who won the constituency in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections by a margin of over 97,000 votes.

JD(S) supremo HD Kumaraswamy has won as an MP thrice, but this is the first time he has been sworn in as a Union minister. The JD(S) contested the elections in alliance with the BJP in Karnataka.

The son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy (who contested from Mandya in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls) served as the chief minister of Karnataka from 2006 to 2007 and from 2018 to 2019.

Five Cabinet ministers and eight Ministers of State from the five south Indian states were sworn in.

Mandya MP HD Kumaraswamy takes oath.

(Photo: Screenshot/Sansad TV)

Kumaraswamy and the JD(S) were under fire after the second phase of elections after his nephew Prajwal Revanna was accused of rape and sexual assault of multiple women. Revanna lost the Hassan seat – a JD(S) stronghold – in the polls.

The BJP has also retained Shobha Karandlaje, who was an MoS in the Modi 2.0 government. Karandlaje, who is a prominent face in Udupi Chikmagalur, was moved from the seat owing to a rebellion within the party. She won from Bengaluru North.

V Somanna, the BJP MP from Tumkur in Karnataka, is a new face in the Modi government. He, however, has served in successive BJP governments in Karnataka.

Andhra Pradesh: Who Are the 2 TDP Ministers?

Ram Mohan Naidu is a three-time TDP MP.

At 36, he is also the youngest minister in the Modi 3.0 Cabinet. He is the son of former TDP leader and Union Minister Yerran Naidu, who incidentally was the youngest minister in the 1996 HD Deve Gowda Cabinet.

After his father died in 2012, he stepped into politics at the age of 26. He won the Srikakulam seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and was one of the few TDP MPs to retain his seat in 2019. In the 2024 elections, he won the Srikakulam constituency yet again with a majority of 3.27 lakh votes.

Ram Mohan is learnt to be close to Nara Lokesh, the son of Chandrababu Naidu.

Five Cabinet ministers and eight Ministers of State from the five south Indian states were sworn in.

Srikakulam MP Ram Mohan Naidu takes oath.

(Photo: Screenshot/Sansad TV)

The Modi 3.0 government has also inducted Chandra Sekhar Pemmasani, the richest candidate to win the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with assets worth Rs 5,700 crore. He won the Guntur seat in Andhra Pradesh by a margin of over 3.4 lakh votes.

Forty-eight-year-old Pemmasani hails from Guntur and completed his MBBS from Osmania University. A physician by profession, he has worked at Johns Hopkins University-Sinai Hospital for about five years. He is also the founder of an online learning platform 'UWorld.'

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Kerala: First BJP MP Gets MoS Post

Suresh Gopi, who managed to open the BJP's account in Kerala, was expected to get a Union minister post. In fact, one of his campaign promises was a 'Union minister post for Thrissur constituency'.

A Rajya Sabha MP, Gopi had contested twice from the Thrissur constituency before his win – the first time in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the second time in the 2021 Assembly elections. He came both times but managed to increase the party's vote share in the constituency.

One of the major factors that helped Gopi breach the Congress fort was the support of upper-caste Hindus and a section of Christians.

Five Cabinet ministers and eight Ministers of State from the five south Indian states were sworn in.

Thrissur MP Suresh Gopi takes oath.

(Photo: Screenshot/Sansad TV)

The BJP also gave an MoS post to George Kurian, a senior party leader in the Kottayam district. He is the only Christian MP in the Modi 3.0 government – and Kurien's induction is widely seen as a move to appeal to the Christian community.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who contested his maiden election from Thiruvananthapuram constituency and was defeated by Congress' Shashi Tharoor, will no longer be in the government. A Rajya Sabha MP, he served as an MoS of Information Technology in the Modi 2.0 government.

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Telangana: State Chiefs Get Posts

G Kishan Reddy, a two-time MP from Secunderabad, has played an active role in the rise of the BJP in Telangana. In the Modi 2.0 government, he served as Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Development of the North Eastern Region of India. He will serve as a Cabinet minister this time too.

He took over as the state BJP chief of Telangana in 2023 – under his leadership, the party won eight seats in the 2023 Assembly elections and increased its Lok Sabha seat tally from four in 2019 to eight in 2024.

Two-time Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar, meanwhile, is a new face in the Modi government.

Five Cabinet ministers and eight Ministers of State from the five south Indian states were sworn in.

Secunderabad MP Kishan Reddy takes oath.

(Photo: Screenshot/Sansad TV)

Sanjay Kumar was the BJP state chief in Telangana until Kishan Reddy took over. A widely popular OBC leader, who has been accused of hate speech against minorities multiple times, his replacement opened up wounds within the party.

He contested the 2023 Assembly elections from Karimanagar but lost to the Bharat Rashtra Samithi.

His appointment as an MoS, perhaps, was done to ensure cohesion in BJP Telangana, considering how the south Indian state is of utmost importance to the party, which is trying to increase its footprint in the region.

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