C R Patil is new Jal Shakti Minister

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) Chandrakant Raghunath Patil, president of the BJP Gujarat state unit, has been appointed as the new Jal Shakti Minister in the recently formed Cabinet.

The immediate task ahead for Patil is to fulfill the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide tap water to every rural household in the country by the end of this year.

Additionally, he will oversee the Namami Gange project, another significant initiative under the ministry.

Patil would be replacing Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Alongside Patil, V. Somanna and Raj Bhushan Choudhary have been appointed as Ministers of State in the Ministry of Jal Shakti. Somanna also takes on the role of Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways, according to an official statement.

Patil, 69, began his career in 1975 as a constable in the Gujarat Police, a position he held until 1984.

After leaving the police force, Patil entered the media industry, founding Navgujarat Times, a Gujarati daily newspaper, in 1991.

Patil's political journey started in 1989 when he joined the BJP. He initially served as the Surat city treasurer and later as the vice president of the Surat City BJP.

His organisational skills led to his appointment as the chairman of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) in 1998 by then Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Patil won the newly formed Navsari constituency seat, selected by then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

He retained this seat in the 2014 and 2019 elections, securing historic wins and substantial margins.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Patil achieved a remarkable victory with 1,031,065 votes, defeating his closest rival by 773,551 votes.

He has significantly contributed to the BJP's organisational strength and served on various influential committees, including the Standing Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs and the General Purposes Committee in the Lok Sabha.

BJP leader V. Somanna, 73, who previously contested against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the assembly polls, is now part of the new union council of ministers led by Prime Minister Modi as minister of state in the ministry.

Despite earlier speculation about his possible shift to the Congress, Somanna remained with the BJP and secured a victory in the Tumkur Lok Sabha segment, defeating Congress' S P Muddahanumegowda by a margin of 175,594 votes.

The Lingayat leader began his political career as a member of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) from 1983 to 1987. Over the years, he has been associated with all three major political parties in the state: Janata Dal (erstwhile), Congress and BJP.

Another MoS in the ministry is Raj Bhushan Nishad, a 46-year-old, lost the 2019 polls from Muzaffarpur as a nominee of the Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP), contested on a BJP ticket this time and defeated Congress candidate Ajay Nishad by more than 2.3 lakh votes.

A doctor by profession, Nishad switched to the BJP after the 2019 polls and was appointed the state BJP vice-president as the party eyed Mallah and other allied castes’ votes. PTI UZM AS AS

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