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Modi govt 3.0: Three ministers with Tamil roots retain Cabinet berths

Nirmala Sitharaman, 64, has once again been sworn in as a Union Minister of the new NDA government.

Modi govt 3.0: Three ministers with Tamil roots retain Cabinet berths

BJP leaders during the oath-taking ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan

CHENNAI: Although the BJP-led NDA alliance failed to win a seat in the Dravidian heartland in the Lok Sabha election, three ministers from Tamil Nadu have been given prominence in the new Narendra Modi Cabinet.

Nirmala Sitharaman, 64, has once again been sworn in as a Union Minister of the new NDA government.

An economist, Nirmala Sitharaman served as Finance Minister in the NDA government from 2019 to 2024.

A member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka since 2016, Nirmala also served as the Defence Minister from 2017 to 2019 in the NDA government.

Born in Madurai, she is India's second female finance minister and defence minister after Indira Gandhi, and the first full-term female minister to hold each of these portfolios.

She also served as Minister of State for Finance, Corporate Affairs as well as Commerce and Industry in various periods during the NDA regime between 2014 and 2017.

Nirmala featured in the Forbes 2022 list of world's 100 most powerful women at rank 36.

Notably, under her tenure as the finance minister in 2022, India became the 5th largest economy in the world.

In February 2024, she presented the Union Budget for the 6th time, equalling Morarji Desai's record.

As per available data, Nirmala Sitharaman's total assets amount to Rs 2,50,99,396 including both movable and immovable assets.

Similarly, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, another Tamil minister and diplomat, also took oath on Sunday.

The 69-year-old Jaishankar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat served as the Minister of External Affairs (MEA) in the Modi-led NDA government between 2019 and 2024.

He has transformed from being perceived as a political lightweight to a confident and assertive leader shaping India's foreign policy amidst various geo-political challenges.

He previously served as the Foreign Secretary from January 2015 to January 2018. He became the second ever diplomat to be appointed as MEA after Natwar Singh.

He has also served as ambassador to the USA, China, Singapore, and the Czech Republic.

In November 2022, during a joint press conference with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Jaishankar advocated a return to dialogue and peace between Russia and Ukraine.

In June 2023, Jaishankar had announced that India will remain committed in its stance on not inviting Ukraine to the 2023 G20 summit that was held in New Delhi.

The third Tamil minister is Loganathan Murugan, born to a Telugu-speaking Arunthathiyar family in Tamil Nadu's Konur village in Namakkal district. He was sworn in as Union Minister of State (MoS) once again on Sunday.

L Murugan served as MoS in the second Modi cabinet from 2021 to 2024.

He is the first from the Arunthathiyar community to be made a Union Minister since India's independence.

He has had more than 20 criminal cases filed against him, the most any NDA cabinet minister has had.

He has contested elections from various constituencies but was unsuccessful in all of them --- Rasipuram in 2011, Sankarankoil in 2012, Dharapuram in 2021, the Nilgiris in 2024.

He also served as the president of BJP's Tamil Nadu unit from 2020 to 2021. During this period, he undertook a Vel Yatra in the state to build a support base for the BJP's Hindutva politics.

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