One woman, two defectors, one vacancy

Meet six new ministers who joined Team Raghubar after long wait

  • Published 20.02.15

Agree with him or disagree with his style, but you got to hand it to chief minister Raghubar Das, he expanded his cabinet only after he hedged his bets. Now that JVM defectors joining the BJP have pushed the tally of ruling BJP-Ajsu combine to a comfortable 48 in the 82-member House, Team Das added six names of ministers to the original five, including himself, taking it to 11. Why not 12? One vacant ministerial berth is the BJP's final bargaining chip, if need be, to broker a truce, pacify the disgruntled or reward the deserving. Here are the six who made it to Thursday's swearing-in

Neera Yadav (43), Koderma MLA, BJP

The second woman minister after Dumka's Louise Marandi, Neera Yadav felled the formidable RJD leader Annapurna Devi this elections, a poll win few had expected. Only 43, Yadav is a first-time MLA but she seems to have been a diligent cadre since 1999, when she joined the party, working her way up from zilla and panchayat elections. A doctorate from Vinoba Bhave University, Yadav used to used to teach commerce at an intermediate college in Koderma. She can count on her clean, educated, middle-class image as an additional plus

Amar Kumar Bauri (36), Chandankyari MLA,BJP

This is first-time MLA Bauri's big leap. Bauri, who had started his political career with the JVM, won the election as a JVM nominee, defeating Ajsu heavyweight Umakant Rajak from the Chandankyari (SC) assembly constituency in Bokaro district. Within a month of winning his first-ever election, the young leader was persuaded to leave Babulal Marandi and join the BJP. A postgraduate in history from Ranchi University and a BEd from Vinoba Bhave University, Bauri is just the kind of face the BJP wants to broaden its base in Jharkhand among the backward castes. It remains to be seen whether this ambitious young man can live up to the hype

Randhir Kumar Singh (32), Sarath MLA, BJP

Going by the age stated in his affidavit, Singh is the youngest in Team Raghubar, but the fact that he passed his matriculation in 1989 makes the age dicey. But, Singh pulled off a major upset this election, when he defeated JMM stalwart Shashank Shekhar Bhokta, the former Speaker, as well as BJP's Uday Shankar Singh alias Chunna Singh. Singh seems to have worked hard to reach where he has. He started his career as a miner in 1992 at Chitra colliery under ECL (Eastern Coalfields Limited), a job he got on compensatory grounds after his father Sukkdeo Singh, a mining labourer, died in 1991 in a mishap. Singh cut his political teeth in the RSS-backed Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh where he rose to become the general secretary of the Deoghar unit in the late 1990s and included in its apex body covering Santhal Pargana. In 2007, he formally joined the BJP, but in the 2009 Assembly polls, when Sarath seat went to JDU as part of a seat-sharing agreement, Singh contested as an Independent and netted some 20,000 votes. In 2010, he joined the JVM, but before the 2014 Assembly election, he sniffed chances to join the BJP. The party did not indulge him then but wooed him after results were out

Ram Chandra Chandravanshi (68), Bishrampur MLA, BJP

The three-time MLA from Bishrampur in 1995, 2005 and 2014, Chandravanshi was an RJD man before he joined the BJP in 2014 before this election. The oldest in the cabinet, Chandravanshi had also served as finance minister in the Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi government in Bihar. An intermediate, Chandravanshi also has the distinction of running 16 educational institutions in Palamau, including technical colleges. Chandravanshi is also self-made. Joining government service in 1966 as a clerk, he was behind the formation of social outfit Akhil Bharatiya Chandravanshi Kshatriya Mahasabha in 1989 and rose to become its national president in 1994. The same year he resigned in 1994 for politics. A year later, he became an MLA and minister

Saryu Roy (63), Jamshedpur West MLA, BJP

Here's a long-due ministerial honour, which even many non-BJP supporters would also aver. Considered the party's Chanakya, erudite and upright Roy was in the forefront of those responsible for exposing the animal husbandry scam worth Rs 950 crore in Undivided Bihar, which became Lalu Prasad's nemesis. Roy was among those who blew the whistle on then chief minister Madhu Koda and his cabinet colleagues. An environment activist who runs public awareness campaigns against river pollution, he espouses causes fiercely. An MSc from Patna University, he took part in the Sampurna Kranti movement against Indira Gandhi after Emergency as an ABVP leader. In 1993, he joined the BJP

Raj Paliwar (45), Madhupur MLA, BJP

Two-time MLA from Madhupur, Raj Paliwar belongs to a traditional priestly class family of Deoghar that is ideologically committed to the RSS. Known for his affability, Paliwar has held key posts in the Sangh Parivar's Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal and had been a member of the BJP's student wing ABVP during his college days in Deoghar. He joined the BJP in 1990

Compiled by Vijay Deo Jha