Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank were among the top politicians who resigned from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet on Wednesday. The resignations came hours before a major expansion and reshuffle of his Council of Ministers in which 43 new members will take oath.
Vardhan, a doctor himself, had been in charge of the health ministry as well as the science and technology ministry as the Covid pandemic broke and then India worked to develop vaccines. However, his various comments in the middle of the crisis were slammed by critics as insensitive and ignorant of the ground reality, even as he strongly defended the government's handling of the situation.
Javadekar and Prasad's resignations came just an hour ahead of the major reshuffle.
Prasad's exit is no less than a jolt amid an ongoing faceoff between government and micro-blogging platform Twitter.
Besides, Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda tendered his resignation.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' and Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre resigned from the Union Cabinet.
Pokhriyal, who tested positive for COVID-19 on April 21, was admitted to AIIMS in June again following post Covid complications. He has resigned from his post citing health reasons. The former Uttarakhand chief minister took charge as the HRD Minister in May 2019.
Dhotre, who represents Akola constituency of Maharashtra also took charge as MoS for Education, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology, in May 2019.
Union Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo also resigned from the Union Council of Ministers on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post, Babul Supriyo said, “Yes, when there is smoke there must be a fire somewhere Yes, I have been asked to resign & I have!!. I thank Honourable Prime Minister for giving me the privilege to serve my country as a Member of his Council of Ministers.”
Earlier in the day, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar resigned from the Union Cabinet. Gangwar, who held the position of Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment.
Minister of State for Women and Child Development Debasree Chaudhuri also quit the Cabinet on Wednesday. She was elected to the Lok Sabha from West Bengal's Raiganj constituency in the 2019 general elections.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot had resigned after he was made Governor of Karnataka on Tuesday. Minister of State for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria too tendered his resignation.
In all, six Cabinet Ministers, one Minister of State (Independent Charge) and five Ministers of State have resigned.