Of Modi 3.0’s 72 ministers, 7 switched allegiance after 2019 poll announcement

A series looking at the defectors in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

WrittenBy:Nikita Singh
jyotiraditya Scindia and Annapurna Devi.

There are seven turncoats among the 72 leaders who are part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new council of ministers. Two of these have been given cabinet posts, and five assigned the charge of minister of state. The BJP-led NDA had fielded 77 defectors during the Lok Sabha polls.

The two defectors who secured cabinet posts are Jyotiraditya Scindia and Annapurna Devi. The outlier among the turncoats in the government top brass is Ravneet Singh Bittu – the only one to have secured a post despite losing in the polls. Bittu, the former leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, crossed over to the saffron party in March this year.   

None of the turncoats among the ministers were from Telangana, where the NDA fielded the most at 11. From Uttar Pradesh, which saw the highest count of total turncoats, Jitin Prasada and Raj Bhushan Chaudhary earned MoS posts. 

At least six of those who secured a ministerial berth boast of a political lineage. 

Turncoats in cabinet 

Jyotiraditya Scindia – the erstwhile Gwalior royal, former Congress stalwart and Modi 2.0’s aviation minister – has retained his position in the cabinet but as minister of development of north eastern region and telecom. He won the Guna Lok Sabha seat in a turncoats’ battle with a margin of over 5 lakh votes.  

Annapurna Devi, an OBC leader who was with the RJD till March 2019, ahead of the then Lok Sabha polls, is a fresh face in the Modi cabinet. The now two-time MP from Jharkhand’s Koderma has been assigned the union ministry of women and child development – which previously rested with actor-politician Smriti Irani. Devi defeated CPMIL’s Vinod Kumar Singh by over 3 lakh votes. 

5 defectors in council of ministers

Ravneet Singh Bittu has been made the MoS of food processing industries and MoS railways. For the former Congress stalwart and grandson of ex-Congress CM Beant Singh, it has been a meteoric rise as the saffron party’s anti-Khalistan Sikh face. He switched to the BJP from the Congress in March this year, lost in Ludhiana to Congress’s Charanjit Singh Channi and yet secured a berth among the ministers. The BJP did not win any seat in Punjab although it doubled its vote share to 18.56 percent.    

Jitin Prasad, who comes from a political dynasty and was the Congress party’s prominent Brahmin face in UP for long, joined the BJP in 2021. He has been assigned the charge of MoS commerce and industry and MoS electronics and IT. He won from Pilibhit with a margin of over four lakh votes.   

Prataprao Jadhav, who sided with Eknath Shinde after the Shiv Sena split in 2022, took charge as the MoS of Health and Family Welfare. He won from Buldhana with a margin of over 29,000 votes against the UBT’s Narendra Dadgu Khedekar.  

Raj Bhushan Chaudhary, or Raj Bhushan Nishad, quit the Vikassheel Insaan Party and joined the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. He was made the MoS of Jal Shakti. Chaudhary won the Nishad vs Nishad battle against Congress’s Ajay Nishad in Muzaffarnagar with a margin of over 2 lakh votes. 

Sanjay Seth, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP in August 2019, has been assigned the charge of MoS defence. He registered a thumping victory in Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency, with a margin of over 7 lakh votes. 

Among ministers, 7 turncoats from 2014 or pre-Modi era

A total of seven leaders who switched allegiance either in 2014 or before also secured ministerial posts. Of these, three switched sides from the Samajwadi Party to the BJP – SP Singh Baghel, Kirti Vardhan Singh, and Kamlesh Paswan.  

SP Singh Baghel started his political career with the Bahujan Samaj Party and remained with it till 2009. He then joined the SP and was with the Akhilesh Yadav-led party until 2014, when he switched to the BJP. The four-time MP retained the Agra Lok Sabha seat with a victory margin of over two lakh votes. He has been assigned the charge of MoS fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying and MoS panchayati raj. 

Kirti Vardhan Singh, son of a four-time MP and prominent SP leader Anand Singh, was with the SP till 2014, when he joined the BJP. He secured the Gonda Lok Sabha seat against the SP’s Shreya Verma with a margin of over four lakh votes. 

Kamlesh Paswan quit the SP to join the BJP in 2009. He secured UP’s Bansgaon constituency, from where his mother was once elected as an MLA. He has been given the charge of MoS rural development. 

Sarbananda Sonowal, who retained his position as the minister of ports, shipping and waterways, began his political journey with the All Assam Students Union and joined the Asom Gana Parishad in 2001 and remained with it until 2011, when he joined the BJP. The AASU has been one of the fiercest critics of the Citizenship Amendment Act enacted by the BJP, prompting Sonowal’s former colleagues to term this the “ultimate betrayal". He won from Dibrugarh in the Lok Sabha polls with a margin of over two lakh votes. 

Raja Rao Inderjit Singh was with the Congress until just before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when he joined the BJP. He was made the MoS of planning and MoS statistics. The politician, who also has a political lineage, won in Gurgaon against Congress’s Raj Babbar with a majority of over 75,000 votes.

Shobha Karandlaje began her political journey with the BJP in 2004 but quit the party and joined the KJP in 2012. She came back to the BJP’s fold in 2014. She won from Bangalore North with a thumping majority of over nine lakh votes. She is now the MoS micro, small and medium enterprises.

V Somanna, who has been allocated the charge of MoS jal shakti and the railways, switched from the Congress to the BJP in 2008. He won from Tumkur in Karnataka with over seven lakh votes.   

Small teams can do great things. All it takes is a subscription. Subscribe now and power Newslaundry’s work.

Also see
article imageKnow Your Turncoats, Part 21: Punjab has 20 in fray, most of them switched in election year
article imageKnow Your Turncoats, Part 14: Telangana’s triangular contests, Andhra MP linked to ‘liquor scam’


We take comments from subscribers only!  Subscribe now to post comments! 
Already a subscriber?  Login

You may also like