Ashwini Vaishnaw: The inclusion of former IAS officer Ashwini Vaishnav as a cabinet minister in the Narendra Modi government is surprising many people. However, even two years ago, he had stunned everyone by winning the Rajya Sabha election from Odisha on a BJP ticket, as the party did not have enough number of MLAs to win the election. Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, 51-year-old Vaishnav is a 1994 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Odisha cadre.
Despite being in the BJP, he won the support of Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik in the Rajya Sabha elections. It was criticized by many leaders within the BJD. It was alleged that Patnaik succumbed to the pressure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and supported Vaishnav. Vaishnav had joined BJP just six days before this Rajya Sabha election held on 28 June 2019.
While in the administrative service, he held the responsibility of Collector of Baleshwar and Cuttack districts. During the severe cyclone in the year 1999, he showed his skills as a bureaucrat and on the basis of his information, the government was able to take quick steps, which saved many lives. Vaishnav worked in Odisha till 2003 and then became Deputy Secretary in the office of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. When Vajpayee stepped down from the post of Prime Minister, Vaishnav was made his secretary.
Vaishnav, who studied at IIT, left the government job in 2008 and did his MBA from Wharton University, USA. After returning, he worked in some big companies and then set up manufacturing units of auto accessories in Gujarat. In April this year, he was named a member of the Press Council of India.
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