Shivraj Singh Chouhan takes charge of Agriculture Ministry; farmers welfare top priority

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (PTI) Senior BJP leader and four-time former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan took charge of the Union Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday and vowed to work for farmers' welfare, which is the government's top priority.

He has also been allocated the Rural Development Ministry in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new Cabinet.

The 65-year-old leader, popularly known as "mama" (maternal uncle) and "paon-paon wale bhaiya" (foot soldier), took oath as part of the Prime Minister's Council of Ministers on Sunday, marking a significant milestone in his over three-decade-long political career.

After taking charge, Chouhan said in social media posts that the agriculture ministry would work as an important link in realizing the resolve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of a developed country.

"Farmer welfare is the top priority of the Prime Minister," Chouhan said, adding that he, his fellow ministers and officers will work together as a team.

"We will put in all our hard work and efforts," the minister said.

Chouhan said he has handed over a 'Sankalp Patra' to his officers, which contains the guarantees of the Prime Minister and also steps to be taken for the welfare of farmers.

"Work will also begin today to fulfil every resolution for the welfare of farmers. Let us all join hands and dedicate ourselves to the work of farming and the welfare of farmers from now itself," he said.

With his extensive experience in governance and deep connect with the rural populace, Chouhan's appointment as the Union Agriculture Minister is expected to bring fresh impetus to the government's efforts in addressing the challenges faced by the agriculture sector and the farming community.

Chouhan, who assiduously cultivated a 'son of the soil' image and identified himself with the socio-economic concerns of farmers, villagers, women, and children in Madhya Pradesh, proved his detractors wrong after being denied the chief minister's post for the fifth time last year.

The BJP leader won the Vidisha Lok Sabha seat for an impressive sixth time, securing a record margin of 8.21 lakh votes.

Born on March 5, 1959, in a farming family in Jait village, Sehore district, Chouhan's political journey began with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) when he was just 13 years old.

He was first elected to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly from Budhni constituency in 1990 and later became a Member of Parliament from Vidisha in 1991.

He was re-elected from the same constituency in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2004, winning his fifth Lok Sabha election with an impressive margin of over 2,60,000 votes. PTI MJH LUX DRR

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