The second exercise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in little more than two years since he took over in May 2014 saw a number a dalit and OBC leaders being given ministerial positions done apparently with an eye on assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand next year and Gujarat later.
Javadekar, who held independent charge of Environment, was the lone minister to be promoted to the cabinet rank while all new inductees took oath as Ministers of State. Earlier, there was speculation that Power Minister Piyush Goel and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be elevated to the Cabinet.
Ajay Tamta (Uttarakhand), Arjun Ram Meghwal (Rajasthan), Krishna Raj (UP), Athawale (Maharashtra), Ramesh C Jigajinagi (Karnataka) were among the dalit MPs administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhawan attended by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Modi, his cabinet colleagues, BJP President Amit Shah and leaders allied parties among others. No Congress leader was present.
Others who were inducted included P P Chaudhary, C R Chaudhary (Rajasthan), A M Dave, Faggan Singh Kulaste (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendra Nath Pandey (UP), Pur-shotam Rupala, J Bhabhor and Mansukhbhai Mandaviya (Gujarat), Rajen Gohain (Assam) and S R Bhamre (Maharashtra).
Akbar was elected recently to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh while Goel represents Rajasthan in the Upper House.
Ahluwalia was elected to Lok Sabha from Darjling while Anupriya Patel was elected from Mirzapur in UP.
Those dropped from the ministry are Nihalchand, Ram Shankar Katheria, Sanwar Lal Jat, Manuskhbhai D Vasava and M K Kundariya.
All barring Goel and Faggan Kulaste are new faces while a few have been ministers in BJP-ruled state governments. PTI