Saturday, June 22, 2024

Mansukh Mandaviya appointed new sports minister

Mansukh Mandaviya

NEW DELHI, June 10: Mansukh Mandaviya, who previously served as the union health minister during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, has been appointed as India’s new sports minister, replacing Anurag Thakur in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.
The 52-year-old Mandaviya secured victory in the Porbandar Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat, defeating his nearest Congress rival Lalit Vasoya by a significant margin of 3.83 lakh votes.
In addition to the ministry of youth affairs and sports, Mandaviya has also been assigned the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers in the newly unveiled cabinet.
Furthermore, Raksha Khadse, a three-time BJP MP from Maharashtra’s Raver, has been appointed as Minister of State (Sports) under Mandaviya.
Raksha, aged 37, is the daughter-in-law of Eknath Khadse, an NCP leader from the Sharad Pawar faction who has decided to rejoin the BJP.
She emerged victorious in the 2024 Lok Sabha election by securing nearly 3 lakh votes, defeating her closest rival Shriram Patil from the NCP-Sharad Pawar faction.
Raksha’s husband, Nikhil Khadse, passed away in 2013.
Mandaviya took charge of the health portfolio in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis in 2021, replacing Dr
Harsh Vardhan. His ministry was tasked with augmenting the supply of oxygen and medicines and overseeing the vaccination programme during the severe second wave of COVID-19. In the recent government reshuffle, the health ministry has been assigned to J P Nadda.
The just-concluded polls marked Mandaviya’s first Lok Sabha election. Born on June 1, 1972, in Bhavnagar, Mandaviya was previously a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat and had also won as an MLA from Palitana assembly seat of Bhavnagar district in 2002.
Anurag Thakur, the outgoing sports minister, was among the 37 ministers dropped from the third successive Modi government. Thakur served as the sports minister for nearly three years from July 7, 2021.
During Thakur’s tenure, India achieved its best-ever performance at the Olympics, winning a record seven medals in the Tokyo Games. He also oversaw the decision to make medal winners in all Khelo India competitions eligible for government jobs, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of nurturing talent at the grassroots level.
Thakur spearheaded India’s bid to host the 2036 Olympic Games and emphasized the government’s flagship Khelo India initiative as a pivotal factor in India’s improving sporting performances.
With a political career beginning in 2008, Thakur represented the Hamirpur constituency in Himachal Pradesh five times and aimed for India to be among the top-5 medal-winning nations globally.
(ToI With PTI inputs)