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June 11, 2024

Annapurna Devi: Championing Women and Child Development in Modi’s Cabinet

Annapurna Devi, a prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament from Jharkhand, has been appointed as the Minister of Women and Child Development in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third term. This strategic move, announced on Monday, reflects the BJP’s commitment to strengthening its leadership in crucial social sectors.

Devi, aged 55, takes over the role from Smriti Irani, another notable BJP leader, who was not included in the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. Irani, who previously managed the Women and Child Development Ministry, lost her Amethi constituency to Congress candidate Kishori Lal Sharma in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Annapurna Devi and Nirmala Sitharaman, the Finance Minister, now stand as the only female cabinet ministers in the union government.

Savitri Thakur, BJP MP from Dhar, Madhya Pradesh, has been appointed as the new Minister of State in the Women and Child Development Ministry, providing additional support to Devi in this significant portfolio.

Who is Annapurna Devi?

Annapurna Devi’s political journey is both inspiring and multifaceted. Originally a close associate of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, she embarked on her political career following her husband, RJD lawmaker Ramesh Yadav’s untimely death. Her first electoral success was in a 1998 by-election to the Bihar Legislative Assembly.

Her political acumen quickly became evident as she served as the Minister of State (MoS) for Mines and Geology in the RJD-led government of undivided Bihar. Following the bifurcation of Bihar and the creation of Jharkhand in 2000, Devi continued her political career in Jharkhand, representing the state in the Legislative Assembly from 2005 to 2014. Her tenure included serving as a cabinet minister in 2012, where she managed portfolios such as women and child welfare, irrigation, and the registration department.

Transition to BJP and National Politics

In 2019, Annapurna Devi made a significant political shift by joining the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Contesting from Jharkhand’s Koderma constituency, she secured a decisive victory over Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik). Her popularity and effective leadership were reaffirmed in the 2024 elections, where she retained her seat, defeating CPI(ML)L’s Vinod Kumar Singh by an impressive margin of nearly 400,000 votes.

Devi’s entry into the Modi cabinet as Minister of State for Education in 2021 marked her initial foray into national governance. Her effective work in this role set the stage for her current appointment, underscoring the BJP’s strategy to reinforce its OBC (Other Backward Classes) vote bank. Annapurna Devi’s influence within the OBC community is a crucial asset for the BJP, particularly in Jharkhand, where her reach and rapport with the electorate are significant.

Future Prospects

Annapurna Devi’s new role as the Minister of Women and Child Development is pivotal. Her extensive experience in state politics, combined with her ministerial roles in both state and union governments, equips her to address the challenges and opportunities within this critical sector. As she steps into this influential position, her focus will likely encompass enhancing the welfare of women and children, improving educational opportunities, and ensuring robust implementation of development programs.

Devi’s journey from regional politics to a key position in the national cabinet illustrates her resilience and dedication. Her appointment not only strengthens the Modi government but also highlights the BJP’s strategic approach to inclusive development and social welfare. As she navigates her new responsibilities, Annapurna Devi’s leadership will be instrumental in shaping the future of women and child development initiatives in India.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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