The She – Power in The Modi led BJP Government
Sushma Swaraj became the second woman External Affairs Minister, in yet another first for the 62-year-old BJP leader. Indira Gandhi became the External Affairs Minister for the first time in 1967 and then again in 1984. Apart from having the distinction of becoming the youngest cabinet minister in Haryana government at the age of 25, Swaraj has also many other firsts such as being the first woman Chief Minister of Delhi and woman spokesperson for any political party in the country.
Swaraj has also been given the charge of Overseas Indian Affairs. Swaraj is assuming the charge of the Foreign Ministry, one of the senior-most offices in the Union Cabinet, at a time when India’s growing international influence gives it a prominent voice in global affairs even as issues in the region keep the largest democracy busy. (Source)
Being the Member of the Indian Parliament, front-runner of opposition and a renowned political figure. Sushma Swaraj is a inspiration for women who are considering to achieve greater heights. Sushma Swaraj is a seven terms MP, three times MLA and now Minister of External Affairs in present 16th Lok Sabha. Earlier she was a Union Cabinet Minister of India and a Chief Minister of Delhi. She became the country’s Cabinet Minister at a very young age of 25 years in 1977.
Apart from being a chief politician, Swaraj has shown an intense interest in classical music, poetry, fine arts and drama. She also aided as the President of the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan in Haryana for four years. She is an outstanding speaker and a good promoter. These talents only assisted to make her the first woman leader of the opposition. She is considered by many as the conspicuous ‘next generation leader’. (Source)
Maneka Sanjay Gandhi is the Union Minister for Women & Child Development. She is also a Member of Parliament from Pilibhit constituency of Uttar Pradesh. While maintaining her low key profile Maneka Gandhi has managed to leave a mark in her field of interest. Unlike the rest of the Gandhi family members, Maneka is not a frequent newsmaker but with her intense efforts towards fighting for environment, Maneka has gained popularity.
A prominent member of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), she is also a trustee of Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Shelter and Hospital. She created India’s Animal Welfare Ministry and became its first Minister. It was by then the only Ministry dedicated to Animals in the world. Maneka Gandhi is an animal lover. As a Minister she banned the use of animals for public performances. Through her initiative, it was made compulsory for all cosmetic and edible products to be labeled as green (for vegetarian) and red (for non- vegetarian) depending on the ingredients.
She placed a significant role in formulating programme to safeguard street dogs. She replaced the practice of Municipal killings of homeless dogs with a sterilizing programme. She regulated the sale of air guns which has been responsible for endangering birds like eagles and other small animals. She also put ban on traveling zoos. Maneka Gandhi founded People for Animals (PFA) in 1992. It is the largest organization for animal welfare in India. She is also a patron of International Animal Rescue. Maneka Gandhi is a vegetarian and promotes vegetarianism on grounds of health, humanity, compassion, karmic reasons, spirituality and ecology. (Source)
Dr. Najma A. Heptulla
At 74, Najma Heptulla is the oldest minister and the only Muslim face in the Narendra Modi Cabinet. She has been five time member of Rajya Sabha, the Upper House, between 1986 and 2012, and is best known for her role as Deputy Chairperson, Rajya Sabha for 16 years.
She started her political career by leading the All India Congress Committee and the NSUI and eventually climbed up the ladder at Indian National Congress. In 2004, she left the Indian National Congress party due to the problems with the party leadership (Sonia Gandhi) and joined Bharatiya Janata Party. In 2007, BJP-led NDA fielded her as a candidate in the elections for the Vice President of India, which was won by Hamid Ansari. (Source)
She is a well recognized woman at the international level, her nomination by the United Nations Development Programme as its human development ambassador stands apart among the list of achievements. She also led a delegation to the UN Commission on Status of Women in 1997. Dr. Heptulla has authored book on AIDS titled ‘AIDS: Approaches to Prevention’. She has also written on human social security, sustainable development, environment, reforms for women and on ties between India and West Asia.
Uma Bharti contested her first election at the age of 25 years (in 1984) but lost it in the Congress wave that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi. However, in 1989, she was elected for the first time as Member of Parliament of India from Khajuraho Lok Sabha seat and retained it for the next three elections. It was only in 1999 that she switched the seats and contested from Bhopal constituency.
She was a part of Cabinet of the Vajpayee Administration, and held various state-level and Cabinet level portfolios of Human Resource Development, Tourism, Youth Affairs & Sports, and finally Coal & Mines. In the 2003 Assembly polls, she led the BJP to a three-fourths majority in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly and was appointed as the Chief Minister of the state, only to resign in 2004. She left BJP and formed Bharatiya Janshakti Party on the ideology of the RSS. She was re-inducted in Bhartiya Janta Party in 2011 and subsequently appointed as party’s Vice-president.(Source)
At 38, Smriti Irani is the youngest among all the women ministers in the Modi government. But this model-turned-actor-turned-politician is no less than those with decades of experience.
Her Role So Far
Smriti joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2003 and contested in the 14th Lok Sabha elections from the Chandni Chowk constituency in 2004. She lost against INC’s Kapil Sibal but was appointed the Vice-President of the Maharashtra Youth Wing. She has been nominated as executive member of the central committee for five times and was appointed as National Secretary of the party. She was appointed as All India President of the BJP’s women’s wing, BJP Mahila Morcha. She was sworn in as a Member of Parliament from Gujarat to the Rajya Sabha in 2011. (Source)
The 54-year-old BJP leader is an official spokesperson of the party since 2010 and well known for her soft and unruffled demeanour. Nirmala Sitharaman was born in Tiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu) and the only woman representative among the ministers from southern part of the country. She has completed her M. Phil in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University and has earlier worked for Pricewaterhouse Coopers as a Senior Manager and for BBC World Service (London).
Her Role So Far
In 2003, she was nominated to the National Commission for Women in Delhi. When the BJP adopted a 33% reservation for women, Nirmala came in touch with Sushma Swaraj and decided to join the BJP despite her family’s links with the Congress. (Source)
Harsimrat Kaur Badal
Born in 1966, Harsimrat Kaur Badal is a two-time member of parliament from Bathinda constituency in Punjab. She is the wife of Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal and the daughter-in-law of Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal.
Her Role So Far
Deeply pained by the situation of girls in Punjab, She started the Nanhi Chah Movement to protect the Girl Child. Her fight against injustice and her passion for working with marginalized groups such as women , schedule class and street kids has motivated her to use electoral and legislative forum for advancing this cause. (Source)
Meenakshi Lekhi is one of the most promising female politicians of India . She is articulate, aggressive and to the point whenever she speaks on matters of political and socio-economic significance.
Her Role So Far
She is blessed with the proverbial ‘gift of the gab’ and that’s why BJP, the party she belongs to, has entrusted her with the responsibilities of a national spokesperson. She is also the vice president of BJP Mahila MorchaMeenakshi has been part of the Drafting Committees for bills like “Women Reservation Bill” & “ Problem of Sexual Harassment at Workplace” (Source) Meenakshi Lekhi has played an important role in the announcement of INR 10,000 Cr fund for startups in Budget 2014 and is actively engaging with the entrepreneurial ecosystem to make the best possible utilization of this money (Source)
Shaina NC belongs to that generation of BJP that is young, ambitious and modern. She has challenged the stereotype image of female politicians, especially those belonging to BJP, a party that is a bit conservative as far as public appearance of women is concerned.
Her Role So Far
Shaina is the BJP’s spokesperson in Maharashtra. She is the daughter of former sheriff Nana Chudasama. Her mother, Munira Chudasama, is a Muslim. Shaina believes that with a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, she got an excellent opportunity of cosmopolitan upbringing. (Source)