Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Annapurna Devi Gets Women And Child Development Ministry, Earlier Held By Smriti Irani


Annapurna Devi was inducted into Modi 3.0 cabinet in a grand oath ceremony on June 9 (File)

New Delhi:

Annapurna Devi, who was forced to enter the field of politics after her husband died in 1998, has steadily risen through the ranks and is now the new Minister of Women and Child Development in the Modi 3.0 cabinet.

She replaced Smriti Irani, whose poll loss from Amethi was one of the most high-profile setbacks for the BJP in this election and marked the end of an era in Amethi, which had become a BJP bastion, albeit for a while.

The induction of Ms Devi, the BJP’s OBC face in Jharkhand, into the Modi 3.0 is being seen as the party’s strategy to consolidate the sizable OBC vote bank ahead of the crucial state polls later this year.

In the recently concluded polls, Annapurna Devi won from Koderma on a BJP ticket by 7.91 lakh votes, defeating her nearest rival – the CPI-ML’s Vinod Kumar Singh – by over three lakh votes.

She began her political career by contesting and winning the Koderma 1998 by-poll in Koderma – the seat fell vacant after her husband’s death, in an undivided Bihar from Lalu Yadav’s RJD. She has since won the state polls four times – in 2000, 2004, 2005, and 2009 – on an RJD ticket and has served as a minister in Jharkhand in 2012.

She was the chief of the RJD’s Jharkhand unit from 2014 to 2019, when she defected to the BJP and contested the Lok Sabha polls for the first time from Koderma. She emerged a giant slayer by defeating Babulal Marandi by a staggering margin.

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