Gajendra Singh Shekhawat new Union Culture and Tourism Minister

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who served as Union Jal Shakti Minister in the previous government, has been named the new Union Culture and Tourism Minister, replacing G Kishan Reddy.

The swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union council of ministers was held on Sunday evening in the grand forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Shekhawat took oath as one of the 30 cabinet ministers. Five ministers of state with independent charge and 30 ministers of state were also sworn in as the members of the prime minister's council of ministers.

Reddy, who also took oath as a cabinet minister, has been allotted coal and mines portfolios.

Since July 2021, Reddy had served as the Union minister for Culture, Tourism and DoNER (development of Northeast region).

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 293 Lok Sabha seats out of 543 in the 2024 polls, in which any single party did not get a majority.

In the Modi 3.0 government, Shekhawat has been named the Union Culture and Tourism Minister, while Rao Inderjit Singh the Minister of State in the Culture Ministry, and Suresh Gopi the Minister of State in the Tourism Ministry.

Born in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer in 1967, Shekhawat was elected to the 16th and 17th Lok Sabha and again to the 18th Lok Sabha in the recently-held general elections from Jodhpur.

He was made the Union Jal Shakti Minister in May 2019.

Shekhawat on Sunday had thanked the prime minister for including him in his council of ministers for the third consecutive time.

He had earlier told reporters that he will work as part of a team under Modi and fulfil all the promises and live up to the country's expectations and aspirations.

Shekhawat was re-elected to the Lok Sabha for the third consecutive term as he defeated his immediate Congress rival by a margin of over 1.15 lakh votes.

Prime Minister Modi's top four ministers -- Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar -- have retained their respective home, defence, finance and external affairs portfolios, according to an official statement.

Singh, Sitharaman, Jaishankar and Shekhawat are among the ministers who are post-graduates.

According to the Lok Sabha website, Shekhawat holds an M.A. (Philosophy) and M.Phil (Philosophy) from JNV University, Jodhpur. Shekhawat's predecessor Reddy has cut his teeth in politics as a youth wing leader in the then Janata Party and has remained close to his roots in south India.

As a sitting MP from Secunderabad constituency, Reddy won again in the 2024 general elections. He is also the state chief of Telangana BJP.

Born in 1964, Reddy -- affectionately called 'Kishananna' -- was also the face of the government in several important events held last year under the culture and tourism tracks meets of the G20 under India's year-long presidency of the multinational bloc.

Last August, Reddy told reporters on the sidelines of a G20 event in Varanasi that the NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership will score a hat-trick and return to power in 2024 with more seats.

Several important policies were announced and important decision made with him at the helm of affairs. PTI KND BHJ BHJ