Dharmendra Pradhan to continue as education minister, Jayant Chaudhary new MoS

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) Dharmendra Pradhan will continue to be the education minister in the new Narendra Modi government while Jayant Chaudhary will be the minister of state for education, the President Secretariat announced on Monday.

Chaudhary has also been deputed as the MoS (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Pradhan, who was inducted in the Union Cabinet for the third time on Sunday, has returned to the Lok Sabha after 15 years, after he won from Sambalpur in Odisha, defeating the Biju Janata Dal's Pranab Prakash Das by a substantial margin of over 1.19 lakh votes.

He was tasked with the implementation of the ambitious new National Education Policy (NEP) in his previous tenure as the education and skill development minister.

Pradhan, a prominent face of the BJP in Odisha, was also being seen as a probable choice for the state's first BJP chief minister after the party secured 78 seats in the assembly polls, defeating the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD.

Popularly known as the "Ujjwala" man, Pradhan is credited with being the longest-serving Union minister for petroleum and natural gas.

In 2012, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar. When Narendra Modi swept to power in the 2014 general election, Pradhan was made the Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas with independent charge.

In a cabinet reshuffle in 2017, he was elevated to the cabinet rank for the same ministry, with an additional charge of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. He again was made a cabinet minister in the second Modi government.

In 2021, Pradhan was made the Union minister for education and skill development and entrepreneurship.

Jayant Chaudhary, the 45-year-old national chairman of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), is the grandson of Chaudhary Charan Singh -- India's fifth prime minister -- and the son of former Union minister Chaudhary Ajit Singh.

Chaudhary, previously associated with Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, joined the NDA ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections after the BJP posthumously honoured his grandfather with the Bharat Ratna in February this year.

Under his leadership, the RLD won two seats in western Uttar Pradesh -- Baghpat and Bijnor -- with margins of over 4,88,000 and 37,500 votes.

In 2022, Chaudhary's RLD contested the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in alliance with the Samajwadi Party against the BJP. The RLD won eight seats and later, bagged another in a bypoll. Currently, it has nine MLAs in the Assembly.

Chaudhary was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh with SP's help. He is also credited with having increased the party's tally in the Assembly. PTI GJS RHL