Dharmendra Pradhan rejoins Modi Cabinet for third term

New Delhi: Senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan was inducted into the Narendra Modi cabinet for the third time on Sunday.

Pradhan served as the education and skill development minister in the previous Modi government. He won from Sambalpur in Odisha, defeating the Biju Janata Dal’s Pranab Prakash Das.

Popularly known as the “Ujjwala” man, Pradhan is credited with being the longest-serving Union minister for petroleum and natural gas in the history of independent India. He joined as the Minister of State (In-charge) in 2014 and was promoted to Cabinet rank in 2017. On May 31, 2019, Pradhan began his second consecutive tenure at the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

Dharmendra Pradhan, born on June 26, 1969, is the son of former Union minister Debendra Pradhan. He made his Lok Sabha debut in 2004 from Deogarh in Odisha. Although he lost the 2009 assembly elections from Pallahara, he became the BJP national secretary and later its general secretary.

In 2012, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar. When Narendra Modi came to power in the 2014 general election, Pradhan was appointed Union minister of state for petroleum and natural gas with independent charge. In a 2017 cabinet reshuffle, he was elevated to cabinet rank for the same ministry, with an additional charge of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. He continued as a cabinet minister in the second Modi government.

In 2021, Pradhan was appointed Union minister for education and skill development and entrepreneurship. He began his political career in 1983 as an ABVP activist and was elected as its secretary. He has worked as an election in-charge in Bihar and as the in-charge of party affairs in Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Odisha, and Jharkhand.

Pradhan studied at Talcher Autonomous College and Utkal University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in political science from Sambalpur University.