Jagat Prakash Nadda replaces Harsh Vardhan as health minister

In a surprise move, Harsh Vardhan was Sunday replaced by senior BJP leader Jagat Prakash Nadda as the union health minister.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: All speculations were put to rest when 21 new ministers took oath as ministers in the new Modi cabinet. Surprisingly, Harsh Vardhan was replaced by senior BJP leader Jagat Prakash Nadda as the union health minister.

Nadda was sworn in as a cabinet minister by President Pranab Mukherjee in the Narendra Modi government's first cabinet expansion. The 53-year-old Nadda is a Rajya Sabha member from Himachal Pradesh who first stepped  into politics during Bihar movement. He has the experience of handling the Environment and Forest Ministry in Himachal Pradesh and was also a part of many delegation to Canada, Costa Rica, Greece, UK and Turkey for exchange of knowledge and process sharing.

The health department would now also be overlooked by an additional minister Sripad Yasso Naik. He will independently be responsible for Ayush (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddhi and homeopathy) department. Ayurveda is a pet subject of Modi, who Sunday said it can acquire global recognition, like yoga, if it is presented in the right spirit and as a way of life.

Harsh Vardhan would now be the new science and technology and earth sciences minister. As a health minister in Delhi, Harsh Vardhan in 1994 oversaw the successful implementation of the pilot project of the Pulse Polio Programme which involved the mass immunisation of one million children up to the age of 3 years.

The removal of Harsh Vardhan who himself is a doctor by profession , came as an astonishment for many. Speculations are rife that the change in Harsh Vardhan's portfolio comes ahead of the Delhi assembly elections likely to be held early next year where he might be declared as the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP. This switch to a low profile ministry would give him the much required time for bigger responsibilities.

(With Agency inputs)