28 MAy : The Union Council of Ministers has been expanded with the induction of 59 ministers including three former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Farooq Abdullah and Virbhadra Singh at the Cabinet level.
In all, 14 cabinet ministers, including DMK nominees M K Alagiri, Dayanidhi Maran and A Raja, and Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge were sworn in by President Pratibha Patil, six days after Prime Minister and 19 others took oath in the first instalment.Seven Ministers of State with Independent Charge, including Praful Patel of NCP, Prithviraj Chavan, Salman Khursheed and Jairam Ramesh and 38 Ministers of State were also sworn in at a ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhawan attended among others by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
With Thursday’s induction, the strength of the Union Council of Ministers goes up to 79, including the Prime Minister, the same as the previous UPA government after the exit of Shivraj Patil.
M S Gill, Selja, Subodhkant Sahay, G K Vasan, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Kantilal Bhuria were the other cabinet ministers inducted on Thursday, all from Congress who have been elevated from the status of Ministers of State.
Mukul Wasnik, an MoS in the P V Narasimha Rao government, has been brought in as a Cabinet Minister. Sriprakash Jaiswal and Dinsha Patel have been elevated as Ministers of State with Independent Charge while Delhi MP Krishna Tirath makes her ministerial debut in the same category.
Prominent among the new ministers who were sworn in were Shashi Tharoor, a former UN diplomat who won from Thiruvananthapuram, Sachin Pilot and Praneet Kaur, wife of former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, and Agatha Sangma, daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma.
The expansion also saw induction of six Trinamool Congress MPs, four from DMK and one from Muslim League.
Of the 14 new Cabinet ministers, Kharge, a senior leader from Karnataka, Selja and Wasnik belong to Scheduled Caste while Bhuria belongs to Scheduled Tribe. Tirath also belongs to Scheduled Caste.
Deshmukh, who belongs to dominant Maratha caste, had to quit as Chief Minister in the aftermath of terror attack in Mumbai in November last year.
The other Ministers of State who would be sworn in are E Ahamed (Muslim League), V Narayanasamy, Namo Narain Meena, Srikant Jena, Mullapally Ramachandran, A Sai Prathap, Harish Rawat, D Purandeswari, Panabaka Lakshmi, Ajay Maken, Gurudas Kamat, K H Muniyappa, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, M M Pallam Raju, Mahadev Khandela, and K V Thomas (all Congress).
Other Congress leaders to make it to the Council of Ministers were Bharatsinh Solanki, Tusharbhai Chaudhary, Arun Yadav, Prateek Prakashbapu Patil, R P N Singh, Vincent Pala and Pradeep Jain.
The TMC members Saugata Ray, Dinesh Trivedi, Sisir Adhikari, Sultan Ahmed, Mukul Roy and Mohan Jatua also took oath.
Ministers of State from DMK were S S Palanimackam, who retains his place, actor D Napolean, S Jagathrakshakan and S Gandhiselvan.
Of the 59, 42 belong to Congress, taking the total number of ministers from the party to 60, including the Prime Minister.
The new ministers inducted on Thursday include seven of DMK, six of TMC, two of NCP and one each of National Conference and Muslim League.
Out of 42 from Congress, 10 are Cabinet ministers, six with Independent charge and 26 Ministers of State. In all, Congress has 28 Cabinet Ministers, including the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile,the portfolios of few of the Ministers have been announced. Virbhadra Singh is new Minister of Steel, Vilasrao Deshmukh gets Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises, Ghulam Nabi Azad gets Health and Family Welfare.
M Veerappa Moily to be Law and Justice Minister while S Jaipal Reddy retains Urban Development Ministry.
Dayanidhi Maran gets Textiles, A Raja retains IT and Communications ministry.
Ambika Soni to be Information and Broadcasting minister while Kapil Sibal HRD minister.Anand Sharma to be Commerce and Industry Minister
Murli Deora gets Petroleaum and Natural Gas, Mallikarjun Kharge Labour and Employment, C P Joshi Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
B K Handique to be minister for mines and minister of development of north-eastern region. Kumari Selja to be Housing, Urban and Poverty Alleviation minister as well as Tourism Minister
Subodh Kant Sahay retains Food Processing Industries, G K Vasan Shipping, Pawan Kumar Bansal Parliamentary Affairs.
Kantilal Bhuria to be Tribal Affairs minister while M K Azhagiri to Chemical and Fertilisers minister.
Praful Patel retains Civil Aviation as Minister of State.