New Delhi: A BJP grassroots worker, Mansukh Mandaviya, who rose through the party ranks to become the Union health minister during the COVID peak, took oath as Cabinet minister for the second time on Sunday. He fought the Lok Sabha elections for the first time after being a Rajya Sabha member for two terms. Mandaviya won from Porbandar in Gujarat defeating Congress’ Lalit Vasoya by a margin of more than 3.8 lakh votes.

Known as “Green MP” for his penchant for cycling to Parliament, Mandaviya, 51, has been steadily rising through the party ranks ever since he associated with the BJP as a youth.

In the Modi government 2.0, he led the ministries of health and chemicals and fertilisers.

Mandaviya was entrusted with the health portfolio in the middle of 2021 when the nation was still battling the COVID-19 crisis. He replaced Harsh Vardhan, who was dropped from the Council of Ministers as part of a reshuffle.

Simultaneously, Mandaviya was given the charge of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers. There, he replaced D V Sadananda Gowda as a consequence of a similar reshuffle.

At the time of his appointment, he was holding independent charge of the shipping ministry and was a minister of state (MoS) for the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers.

Born in a farmer’s family in Hanol village in Palitana taluka in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district, Mandaviya has been actively involved in politics since his youth when he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the RSS’ student wing, and soon became a state executive committee member of the ABVP’s Gujarat unit.

Mandaviya became the youngest member of the Gujarat legislative assembly in 2002. He was appointed as the secretary of the Gujarat BJP in 2013 and the general secretary the next year.

In 2014, he was appointed as the Gujarat state in-charge of BJP’s high-tech and mega membership drive campaign which saw over a crore people joining the saffron party in the state.

Mandaviya got his first big break in the administration when Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat, appointed him as the chairman of Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation Limited.

A veterinary doctor, Mandaviya is a political science postgraduate from the Bhavnagar University. He also holds a Ph.D from the Gujarat Institute of Development and Research, Ahmedabad.

Mandaviya was first inducted into the ministerial council as MoS for road transport and highways, shipping and chemicals and fertilisers on July 5, 2016.

On May 30, 2019, he was again sworn in as MoS for chemicals and fertilisers with independent charge of ports, shipping and waterways.

He was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2012 and re-elected to the Upper House of Parliament in 2018.

As the health minister, he oversaw the implementation of the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programme in the country, which led to more than 220 crore doses being administered.

Mandaviya’s team was also instrumental in rolling out the flagship Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission to make health services accessible.

One of the major highlights of his tenure has been the launch of the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan, aimed at eliminating the disease five years ahead of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) target of 2030.

During the severe second COVID wave, Mandaviya as MoS chemicals and fertilisers was charged with the task of ramping up the supply of oxygen and medicines.

Under his leadership, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers set up over 10,600 Jan Aushadhi stores which provide more than 850 kinds of medicines at affordable rates under the Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana.

During his tenure, the ministry in 2022 launched the ambitious scheme of converting over 3.3 lakh retail shops of fertilisers into Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samruddhi Kendras.

  • Published On Jun 10, 2024 at 06:42 AM IST

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