India’s UPA government reshuffles cabinet, inducts 22 ministers

NEW DELHI: In a mega reshuffle, 22 ministers, including seven of cabinet rank, were inducted into the Manmohan Singh government in what is seen as the last such exercise by UPA-II before the 2014 general elections.

It was a mix of experience and youth as 22 ministers were sworn as ministers, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Sunday.

“A mix of experience and youth – 22 ministers sworn in at Rashtrapati Bhawan,” the PMO said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

A total of 22 ministers – seven cabinet, two minister of state with independent charge and 13 minister of states – were inducted in the cabinet.

President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office to those inducted into the council of ministers.

Of the seven new cabinet ministers, two are new faces – former Rajya Sabha deputy chairman K. Rahman Khan and Lok Sabha MP Chandresh Kumari Katoch.

The remaining five – Ajay Maken, Dinsha Patel, M.M. Pallam Raju, Harish Rawat and Ashwani Kumar – were ministers of state. Maken and Patel had held independent charge.

Of the 15, two – Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari and Telugu actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi – will hold independent charge.

The largest contingent of four is from Andhra Pradesh Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy, Sarve Satyanarayana, Porika Balram Naik and Killi Kruparani.

Three are from West Bengal: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury and Deepa Dasmunsi.

Two are from the northeast: Ranee Narah (Assam) and Ninong Ering (Arunachal Pradesh).

Kerala has two ministers: Shahsi Tharoor and Kodikunnil Suresh.

Maharashtra and Rajasthan have one minister each: Tariq Anwar and Lalchand Kataria.

With the exception of Tariq Anwar, who is from the NCP, the other 14 belong to the Congress.

List of ministers sworn in

Cabinet ministers:

* K. Rahman Khan

* Dinsha J. Patel

* Ajay Maken

* M.M. Pallam Raju

* Ashwini Kumar

* Harish Rawat

* Chandresh Kumari Katoch

Rahman Khan and Katoch make their debut, the other five were previously ministers of state.

Ministers of State:

* Manish Tewari

* K. Chiranjeevi

* Shashi Tharoor

* Kodikunnil Suresh

* Tariq Anwar

* K. Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy

* Ranee Narah

* Adhir R. Chowdhury

* A.H. Khan Chowdhury

* Sarve Satyanarayana

* Ninong Ering

* Deepa Dasmunshi

* Porika Balram Naik

* Kruparani Killi

* Lalchand Kataria

Manish Tiwari and K. Chiranjeevi will hold independent. Shashi Tharoor returns to the council after a gap of two years.

Barring Tariq Anwar, who belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party, the remaining 14 are from the Congress.

Ahead of the reshuffle, S.M. Krishna quit as external affairs minister, Ambika Soni stepped down as information and broadcasting minister, Subodh Kant Sahai resigned as tourism minister and Mukul Wasnik as social justice and empowerment minister.

The ministers of state who quit were Vincent Pala (water resources), Agatha Sangma (rural development) and Mahadeo Singh Khandela (tribal affairs). A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique Saturday evening said the resignations have been accepted.

Six ministers of the Trinamool Congress resigned last month when the party quit the ruling United Progressive Alliance and the government.

A vacancy was created when Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was minister for science and technology, died in August, while two cabinet berths vacated by DMK leaders A. Raja and Dayanidhi Maran in the wake of the 2G spectrum allocation issue have not yet been filled up.

The reshuffle comes at a time when the UPA government is buffeted by allegations of corruption and comes ahead of the winter session of parliament to be held November-December.

The rejig is likely to be the last one before the 2014 general elections and comes days after the Manmohan Singh government shrugged off criticism of policy paralysis by ushering in a slew of economic reforms, including allowing FDI in multi-brand retail as well as deciding to open up the insurance and pensions sector to foreign investment. (Agencies)