Agartala/Guwahati, Kiren Rijiju and Rameswar Teli are the two ministers from the northeastern region in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government.
The previous Modi government had two ministers, both Ministers of State — Kiren Rijiju and Rajen Gohain — from the northeastern region, comprising eight states, including Sikkim.
Incumbent Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was the minister of state of the first Modi ministry until May 22, 2016 before becoming the Chief Minister on May 24 that year.
The new government again has two ministers — while Rijiju has been elevated as Minister of State (Independent Charge), new face Rameswar Teli has been inducted as a Minister of State.
Rijiju, 48, was a Minister of State for Home Affairs in the last government.Rijiju successfully retained his Arunachal West seat in the 17th Lok Sabha elections defeating Congress candidate and two-time former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki with a huge margin of 1,67,132 votes.
Teli, 48, a two-time MP, retained his Dibrugarh seat in eastern Assam defeating Congress veteran and former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar.
Riding the “Modi wave”, the BJP alone won 14 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in eight northeastern states, against eight in the 2014 parliamentary elections.
With its four constituents — Nagaland-based Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Mizoram-based Mizo National Front (MNF), Meghalaya-based National People’s Party (NPP), the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) — winning four seats, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 18 members from the region this time against 11, five years ago.