Despite the presence of a large numbers of young MPs to choose from, only seven of those below 40 have found a place in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s council of ministers that is dominated by party veterans. The inclusion of barely a handful of young ministers has, however, surprised many as the 15th Lok Sabha has as many as 82 MPs falling in the 25-40 age bracket. The Congress alone has 27 young faces.
Congress MPs - Jitin Prasada, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Prateek Patil, R.P.N. Singh and Arun Yadav - are among the lucky few who got that elusive call to join the council of ministers.
All of them are in their 30s and owe their new position as ministers of state to Rahul Gandhi, the 39-year-old Congress MP from Amethi and the star campaigner for the party, who has taken a lead in rejuvenating his party with young blood through talent-hunts and holding internal elections. Rahul himself stayed away from the government despite a public invitaion from the prime minister.
Apart from Scindia and Prasada, all the other young guns are first-time ministers.
The average age of the 78-member council is 57. External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna is the oldest member in the council. He is 77. In terms of state representation, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have five ministers each in the 33-member Union Cabinet announced on Wednesday while the most populous State Uttar Pradesh finds no representation.
Tamil Nadu’s total representation in the Council of Ministers, will be 10 — three from the Congress and seven from its ally DMK. Maharashtra will have nine members in the Council of Ministers — seven from the Congress and two from its ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Uttar Pradesh gets two Ministers of State with Independent charge and three Ministers of State.
West Bengal’s representation in the Council of Ministers will be eight with two Cabinet Ministers and six Ministers of State. Pranab Mukherjee is the lone Congress minister from the State, with all the other berths going to the Trinamool Congress, including party chief Mamata Banerjee who is the Railway Minister.
For the first time in its history, Kerala will have six members in the Council of Ministers — five from the Congress and one from its ally the Muslim League.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Karnataka will have three Cabinet Ministers and one Minister of State. There is only one Cabinet Minister from Andhra Pradesh — S. Jaipal Reddy — that is sending 33 MPs to the Lok Sabha. But the State has got one Minister of State with Independent charge and four Ministers of State.
Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Assam, Jharkhand and Chandigarh have one Cabinet Minister each.
Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have got two Cabinet ministers each.