Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank gets HRD ministry in PM Modi’s new cabinet

Former Uttarakhand chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has been appointed the Human Resource Development ministry in the Narendra Modi government. He took charge of his ministry on Friday, soon after the announcement of portfolios.

The Haridwar Lok Sabha member, who won the seat by a significant margin of votes, joined the Narendra Modi cabinet on Thursday after the ruling BJP’s landslide win in the just-concluded parliamentary elections.

Nishank, 61, may not have been chosen for the government berth just because he is the most experienced of all the five BJP parliamentarians. “Apart from holding various official positions, one major factor that went in his (Nishank) favour is that he is now the only mass leader left in the BJP’s state unit after most of its senior leaders have retired,” said professor MM Semwal of HNB Garhwal (Central) University, a political analyst and an academic, referring to former chief ministers Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri and BS Koshiyari.

According to Semwal, as a mass leader, Nishank is the only politician in the state who can match the stature of Congress veteran and former chief minister Harish Rawat. “It is owing to his popularity that Rawat decided not to contest against Nishank from Haridwar at the eleventh hour,” Semwal said. “He (Rawat) instead chose to contest from Nainital where he was defeated by (state BJP chief) Bhatt by a huge margin of votes.”

“This time his (Pokhriyal’s) elevation to the Union cabinet shows that the BJP brass might choose him as the party’s mascot for the assembly elections due in 2022”, Semwal said adding, that could be possible owing to Nishank’s ability to feel the people’s pulse. “The former chief minister developed this ability not just because he rose from the ranks but also because he was born into a very poor family,” Semwal said about Nishank who hails from Pinani, a remote village in Pauri.

The Haridwar parliamentarian’s good equation with leaders of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an ideological fountainhead of the BJP, is also seen as one of the key factors behind his inclusion in the Modi government.

“Similarly, he (Nishank) also enjoys excellent equations with top organisational leaders of his party, most of whom are from the RSS,” Semwal said.

First Published:
May 31, 2019 15:29 IST

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