Bihar leader Radha Mohan Singh, who handled the crucial agriculture portfolio, has not figured in new council of ministers that took oath along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening after the party's dazzling performance in the Lok Sabha election. Besides PM Modi, 57 ministers took oath during a grand ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Many of them were new faces.
Besides Mr Singh, the ministers who did not make the cut in the first batch includes Maneka Gandhi, Jayant Sinha, Alphons Kannanthanam, JP Nadda and Rajyavardhan Rathore. Finance minister Arun Jaitley has temporarily bowed out on health grounds. Uma Bharati and Sushma Swaraj did not contest.
Over the last five years, the farm sector has been ravaged by severe agricultural crisis that led to farmers' suicide and protests across the country.
With the Congress highlighting the farmers' grievances ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the government had announced a flagship mega cash handout scheme for small and marginal farmers.
Radha Mohan Singh -- who this time beat his closest competitor, RLSP's Askash Kumar Singh by over 2.83 lakh votes -- had taken charge of the crucial ministry since the NDA government came to power in 2014.
But the minister made headlines for the wrong reasons.
During the assembly 2015 elections in Bihar, he was seen camped out in his state, despite a huge crisis over the rising price of pulses.
In June 2017, a day after five farmers died in police firing in Mandsaur during a mega protest by farmers, the minister was spotted at a yoga camp in his constituency, Motihari, with yoga teacher Ramdev. When reporters asked him to comment on the death of the five farmers in firing, the Minister replied, "Yoga kijiye (practice yoga)".
Days later, photos of him urinating in public, surrounded by securitymen, were tweeted by Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal. According to reports, he said he had been forced to urinate on the roadside as there were no toilets in the area.
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