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Mansukh Mandaviya Appointed New Sports Minister; Raksha Khadse Named MoS

Mansukh Mandaviya, who served as the union health minister at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, was on Monday appointed as India's new sports minister, replacing Anurag Thakur in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet. The 52-year-old Mandaviya won the Porbandar Lok Sabha seat in Gujarat by defeating his nearest Congress rival Lalit Vasoya by a margin of 3.83 lakh votes. Simultaneously, Mandaviya was also given charge of the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers in the new cabinet unveiled on Monday. Additionally, Raksha Khadse, a three-time BJP MP from Maharashtra's Raver, was made Minister of State (Sports) under Mandaviya.

The 37-year-old Raksha is the daughter-in-law of Eknath Khadse, an NCP leader of the Sharad Pawar faction who has decided to switch back to the BJP.

She won the 2024 Lok Sabha election by nearly 3 lakh votes, defeating her nearest rival Shriram Patil from the NCP-Sharad Pawar faction.

Her husband, Nikhil Khadse, died in 2013.

Mandaviya was entrusted with the health portfolio in the middle of 2021 when the country was battling the COVID-19 crisis. At that time, he had replaced Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was dropped from the Council of Ministers as part of a reshuffle.

Mandaviya's ministry was then tasked with ramping up the supply of oxygen and medicines and overseeing the vaccination programme during the severe second wave of COVID-19. In the newly sworn in government, the health ministry has been given to J P Nadda.

The just-concluded polls were Mandaviya's first Lok Sabha election. He was born in Bhavnagar on June 1, 1972.

Before being nominated as a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, he had won as an MLA from Palitana assembly seat of Bhavnagar district in 2002.

The outgoing Thakur was among