cabinet ministers
Cabinet reshuffle: 6 of 19 new ministers have RSS links Pictured: The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the Vice President, Shri M. Hamid Ansari and the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi with the newly inducted Ministers after a Swearing-in Ceremony, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on July 05, 2016.PIB India

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has been given greater representation in Narendra Modi's expanded Cabinet as six of the 19 new appointees have links to the prime minister's ideological mentor. A similar equation was seen in 2014, when the Mod-led government took oath, with at least 33 percent of 66 council members having links to RSS.

Anil Madhav Dave, the minister of state of the environment ministry (independent charge), was an RSS pracharak (propagator), and five other new appointees — Mahendra Nath Pandey, Ajay Tamta, Rajen Gohain, Faggan Singh Kulaste and PP Chaudhary — have also been associated with the group in the past. 

A senior RSS member told Hindustan Times that "they have several compulsions, could be elections or other political decisions, which have to be borne in mind while accommodating people. It is not for us to comment. Yes, Dave was a pracharak. He has worked very closely with the Sangh." He added that Dave has been a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rajya Sabha member for a long time.

Pandey, the new Minister of State for Human Resource Development, also had links to the RSS. He was a proponent for rebuilding the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Tamta, from Uttarkhand, who has been given the position of minister of state for textiles, was another agitator during the Ramjanmabhoomi issue. Gohain, from Assam, was also a staunch RSS member from the state. Kulaste, the new Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, also had RSS membership. PP Chaudhary had joined the RSS when he was eight years old, according to the Business Standard.

The changes were reportedly influenced by the ideological mentor of the prime minister, who also was a RSS pracharak once.

During the 2014 induction, at least nine Cabinet ministers and at least three ministers of state who were RSS pracharaks.

Also read