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Berth for Birender Singh makes it 5 from Haryana in Modi govt

PTI 09 Nov 2014, 18:51:33 PM IST

Chandigarh:  With the induction today of Haryana leader Birender Singh as a minister in the Narendra Modi government, the state where BJP recently won in Assembly polls for the first time now has five representatives in the Union Cabinet.

A former Congress leader, Birender had missed the bus for becoming the Haryana chief minister when the the party handed over the reins to Bhupinder Singh Hooda after its win in the 2005 Assembly polls in the state.

Birender was also in the news when he was denied— allegedly at the behest of Hooda—a Cabinet berth in the last ministerial expansion carried out by the previous Manmohan Singh government.

Birender was born in the nondescript Dumerkha village in the Jat heartland of Jind district on March 25, 1946. He is the grandson of peasant leader Sir Chhotu Ram. His father Neki Ram was a politician in unified Punjab.  

Birender was for long an aspirant for the post of the Haryana chief minister. But with those hopes not materialising under Congress, a party with which he was associated for over 42 years, Birender joined BJP in August, 2014, at a political rally at Jind in the presence of the party's president, Amit Shah. Birender entered the BJP fold after tendering his resignation from Rajya Sabha.

Haryana has three Union Ministers of State in the Narendra Modi government—Krishan Pal Gujjar, Rao Inderjit Singh and Gen. (retd) VK Singh—while Birender, who was inducted as a Cabinet minister, shares that status with Sushma Swaraj, the Foreign Minister who, too, hails from Haryana.  

Birender has been a five-time legislator from Haryana's Uchana constituency (1977-82, 1982-84, 1994-96, 1996-2000 and 2005-09) and served three terms a state Cabinet minister. 

He has been a parliamentarian for two terms in 1984, he was elected as the MP from Hisar constituency after defeating former chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo Om Prakash Chautala by a handsome margin.  

In 2010, Birender was elected as a Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana for a six-year term (2010-16) before his resignation from the Upper House.