Ashwini Vaishnaw, who started his career as a bureaucrat, was among 43 ministers who took oath as a Cabinet minister and was inducted into PM Narendra Modi’s ministry in a major reshuffle on Wednesday. The 51-year-old BJP leader’s entry into the Modi cabinet comes two years after he was elected to Rajya Sabha despite the party lacked the required numbers to send a member to Rajya Sabha.
Born in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur, Ashwini Vaishnaw is a former Odisha cadre IAS office from the 1994 batch. Despite being in the Bharatiya Janata Party, the leader has managed to get support, which happened despite criticism from party members, from BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Vasihnaw, who was also an entrepreneur, was inducted into BJP six days before the 2019 Rajya Sabha elections as reports alleged that Patnaik succumbed to Narendra Modi-Amit Shah’s pressure in supporting the 51-year-old.
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The BJP leader’s, who worked in Odisha till 2003, bureaucratic acumen came to the fore when the super cyclone hit Odisha in 1999 killing at least 10,000 people. He has worked as the District Magistrate-cum Collector of Balasore and Cuttack districts.
When he was the collector of the coastal Balasore district, Vaishnaw collected information on the cyclone from a US Navy website, a move that helped the state government to take advanced measures in order to save lives.
Vaishnaw worked in Odisha till 2003, before being appointed as deputy secretary in the office of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. He was later appointed as Vajpayee’s private secretary after the NDA lost the election in 2004.
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A product of IIT, Vaishnaw, quit government service in 2008 and went to Wharton University in the US to pursue an MBA. On his return, after working for top firms, he set up his own automotive components manufacturing units in Gujarat.
In April, he was nominated as a member of the Press Council of India, for three years.