Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today expanded his Cabinet ahead of next year’s assembly elections. He inducted three cabinet ministers, including Balram Yadav and two Ministers of State (Independent Charge).
Governor Ram Naik administered oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at the Raj Bhawan in Lucknow.
In a surprise move, the chief minister dropped Science and Technology Minister Pandey, creating a new vacancy in the ministry which with today’s induction reached its maximum strength of 60.
With today’s expansion, there are 26 cabinet ministers, 12 MoS (Independent) and 22 Ministers of State.
Senior cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, who had announced merger of QED last week and is said to be sulking after the parliamentary board’s decision nullifying it, was conspicous by his absence at the oath-taking ceremony.
As decided by Samajwadi Party Parliamentary Board, senior minister Balram Yadav, who had to bear the brunt of merger of Quami Ekta Dal of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari in Samajwadai Party last week, made a comeback to the cabinet along with another senior leader Narad Rai, who was removed from the ministry earlier.
While Balram Yadav and Narad Rai took oath as the cabinet ministers today, Ziyaudin Rizvi, who is the third cabinet minister in today’s expansion was on pilgrimage and would take oath on his return.
Akhilesh inducted two MLAs from Lucknow – Ravidas Mehrotra and Sharda Pratap Shukla – as Ministers of State with independent charge. Portfolios would be allocated later.
SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav were present at the oath-taking ceremony.
(With inputs from PTI)