Meenakshi Lekhi, the second-term MP of Bharatiya Janata Party’s from Delhi assumed office as Union Minister of State (MoS) for the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday.
The Ministry of External Affairs now has three MOS – V Muraleedharan, Meenakshi Lekhi and Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh.
Speaking to ANI, Lekhi said, “On behalf of all friends, I express my gratitude to the Prime Minister, Home Minister, party chief and the entire team that they prioritised meritocracy and hard work and gave positions to everyone. India has been brought not only on the maps but also in the ministries.”
“Women have been given big responsibilities. People used to speak of women empowerment but Prime Minister Modi made it possible that the empowered women lead the country. He provided recognition and given the responsibility to us, which is praiseworthy,” she said.
Lekhi has also been given the charge of the Ministry of Culture as MoS.
The 54-year-old has been part of the standing committee on External Affairs since September 2019.
As a parliamentarian, Lekhi was part of drafting committees of important Bills, including the Women Reservation Bill and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill.
As many as 43 leaders took oath on Wednesday in the first Union Cabinet reshuffle and expansion after Prime Minister Modi returned to power for a second term in May 2019.
The swearing-in ceremony, which took place at Rashtrapati Bhavan amid COVID-19 protocols, came days ahead of the monsoon session of parliament.
Some of the key figures inducted into Union cabinet include Jyotiraditya Scindia, Bhupender Yadav, Sarbananda Sonowal and Pashupati Kumar Paras.
Seven women MPs took oath as union ministers in the expanded council of ministers.
They include Anupriya Patel, Shobha Karandlaje, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Meenakshi Lekhi, Annapurna Devi, Pratima Bhoumik and Bharati Pravin Pawar.
Meanwhile, seven Ministers of State (MoS) have been promoted as Union Cabinet Ministers.
Former MoS G Kishan Reddy, Kiren Rijiju, Anurag Singh Thakur, Hardeep Singh Puri, Raj Kumar Singh, Parshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya took oath on July 7.