Modi 3.0 govt: First-time MP Tokhan Sahu sole representation from Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Jun 9 (PTI) Tokhan Sahu, a first-time MP, was the sole representative among the 10 newly-elected BJP parliamentarians from Chhattisgarh to be inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers on Sunday.

This move reflects the similar level of representation seen in the previous BJP-led Central government.

Sahu, who won Bilaspur Lok Sabha seat in the recent elections, took oath as the Union Minister of State.

Since Chhattisgarh's formation in 2000, the ruling BJP has consistently performed well in general elections, winning 10 out of 11 seats in the 2004, 2009, and 2014 Lok Sabha polls. In 2019, the party won 9 out of 11 seats, improving its tally to 10 in the 2024 elections.

Amid speculation that one MP from the state would be chosen as Union Minister of State, names of senior leaders like Brijmohan Agrawal, Vijay Baghel, and Santosh Pandey were discussed in political circles.

Agrawal, an incumbent minister in the Vishnu Deo Sai government, won the Raipur Lok Sabha seat with a margin of over 5 lakh votes.

Sitting MPs Baghel and Pandey retained their seats in Durg and Rajnandgaon, respectively.

Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai had expressed hope that BJP MPs from Chhattisgarh would secure ministerial berths at the Centre, but emphasised that the final decision rested with the Prime Minister.

In a surprising move, 55-year-old Sahu, who belongs to the influential Other Backward Caste (OBC), was chosen as a Minister of State, surpassing more seasoned party members.

In Modi's previous term, Renuka Singh, then MP from Surguja, was appointed Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs. Singh was later elected to the Chhattisgarh Assembly.

Sai, who served as Union Minister of State for Steel and Mines during Modi's first term (2014-19), congratulated Sahu after the swearing-in ceremony of the new NDA government in Delhi.

"This is a proud moment for Chhattisgarh. His (Sahu's) induction in the Union Cabinet is a matter of joy for the entire state.

"We will work together to fulfil the resolution of a developed India and developed Chhattisgarh, taking the country and the state to new heights of development," an official statement quoted Sai as saying. PTI TKP NSK