New Delhi: The Union council of ministers was on Thursday 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 MK 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 today’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.
MS Gill, Kumari Selja, Subodhkant Sahay, GK Vasan, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Kantilal Bhuria were the other cabinet ministers inducted today, all from Congress who have been elevated from the status of Ministers of State. Mukul Wasnik, an MoS in the PV 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 PA 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 KV Thomas (all Congress).