21 new faces join Union Council of Ministers
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Twenty one new ministers were today inducted into the Union Council of Ministers. Four of them are of the Cabinet rank, three Ministers of State with Independent charge and fourteen Ministers of State. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where the President administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers.
BJP’s oldest ally, Shiv Sena, with which it is having standoff on government formation in Maharashtra, boycotted the function. Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai, who was on the list of Ministers to be sworn-in, could not be administered the oath as he was not available.
The newly sworn-in Cabinet Ministers are Manohar Parrikar, Suresh Prabhu, J P Nadda and Chaudhary Birendra Singh. Bandaru Dattatreya, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Dr Mahesh Sharma are the new Ministers of State with independent charge. The Ministers of State include Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Ramkripal Yadav, Hari Bhai Chaudhary, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Babul Supriyo, Jayant Sinha, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Telegu Desam Party’s Y S Choudhary.
With this, the total strength of the Union Council of Ministers has gone to 66 from 45. Of this, 27 including the Prime Minister are of Cabinet rank, 13 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 26 Ministers of State.
AIR correspondent reports, the revamping of Narendra Modi government appears to be a balancing act and an exercise done keeping in mind forthcoming elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Seven Ministers will represent the two States in the expanded Council of Ministers. Telangana and West Bengal have found representation in the government. Induction of one woman and a Muslim face has enhanced the representation of women and the minority community in the Council. It is for the first time that Goa will have a Cabinet Minister at the Centre since it attained Statehood in 1987. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena’s absence further soured the already strained relationship with BJP.
Today’s swearing-in ceremony was attended among others by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien, BJP patriarch L K Advani and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. None from Congress was present in the ceremony.