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Bhubaneswar: Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh, Dharmendra Pradhan, who had been the Petroleum and Natural Gas, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 cabinet, has again secured in berth in Modi’s new team.
He was administered the oath of office and secrecy at a ceremony attended by thousands of people at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Son of former Union Minister Debendra Pradhan, Dharmendra was born on June 26, 1969, in Talcher. He started his political carrier as an Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activist in 1983 while pursuing higher secondary education in Talcher College. He became the president of student union in Talcher in 1985. Later, he became the national secretary of ABVP.
Dharmendra became an MLA from Pallahara constituency in 2000 when the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) came to power in Odisha in alliance with the BJP. Dharmendra was conferred the ‘Best Legislator Award’, the Utkalmani Gopabandhu Pratibha Samman in 2002-03 and the Odisha Citizens’ Award in 2013.
He represented the Deogarh Lok Sabha constituency of Odisha in the 2004 elections. Having proved his organisational skills, Dharmendra became the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha National President from 2004 to 2006. In addition to being a BJP general secretary, he has worked as party’s election in-charge for Bihar as also an in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Odisha.
A close confidant of BJP President Amit Shah, Dharmendra was instrumental in ensuring the BJP’s victory in Bihar in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In 2014, when the NDA came to power led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dharmendra became the Petroleum Minister with independent charge. Later, he was promoted to cabinet rank and given the additional portfolio of Skill Development in 2017.
Dharmendra is the first Odia to have become a Rajya Sabha MP from other state. He first got the Rajya Sabha representation from Bihar in 2012, and then from Madhya Pradesh in 2018.
As the Union Petroleum Minister, Dharmendra has been the architect of several progressive reforms and initiatives being implemented in the sector. Consumer initiatives like PAHAL and the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana have earned praise across the country.