Meet Arif Aqueel: First Muslim minister in Madhya Pradesh in 15 years

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New Delhi | Updated: December 26, 2018 10:22:05 AM

Sexagenerian Aqueel is an MLA from Bhopal North, a seat the senior leader won for the sixth consecutive time.

Arif AqueelChief Minister Kamal Nath and Arif Aqueel

The cabinet expansion in Madhya Pradesh carried out by newly appointed Chief Minister Kamal Nath marked the entry of the first Muslim minister in the state cabinet in 15 years. Arif Aqueel is the solitary Muslim face in the cabinet headed by the new Chief Minister. On Tuesday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath inducted 28 MLAs into his Cabinet. The council of ministers, which is a mix of old and new faces, has two women and an Independent MLAs.

Kamal Nath has not inducted any legislator from Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party even though both the parties extended support to Congress after it fell short of majority mark (116) by two seats.

Read Also: Kamal Nath becomes 18th MP CM, here’s the full list of cabinet ministers

Sexagenerian Aqueel is an MLA from Bhopal North, a seat the senior leader won for the sixth consecutive time. He was the lone Muslim face in the last assembly. Nath is heading the first Congress government in Madhya Pradesh in 15 years. Nath did not contest the November 28 Assembly polls and was the only one to take oath last week.

Ministers in the previous Digvijay Singh government and senior Congress MLAs like Govind Singh (MLA from Lahar), Arif Aqueel (Bhopal North), Bala Bachchan (Rajpur ST), Sajjan Singh Verma (Sonkutch), Vijay Laxmi Sadho (Maheshawr) and Hukum Singh Karada (Shajapur) found a place in the Nath Cabinet.

Besides, Tulsi Silawat (Sanver) and Prabhuram Chowdhary (Sanchi), both former parliamentary secretaries, were also administered oath. Jaivardhan Singh, the MLA from Raghogarh and the son of Digvijay Singh, was also inducted into the cabinet. All of 32 years, Singh is the youngest minister in the state cabinet.

Besides Sadho, another woman MLA Imarati Devi (elected from Dabra) was inducted into the Cabinet. Independent MLA Pradeep Jaiswal (Waraseoni), who contested as a Congress rebel, also took oath. Others who got ministerial berths for the first time are: Brijendra Singh Rathore (Prithvipur), Lakhan Singh Yadav (Bhitarwar), Govind Rajput (Surkhi), Omkar Markam (Dindori), Sukhdeo Panse (Multai), Harsh Yadav (Deori), Kamleshwar Patel (Sihawal), Lakhan Ghanghoriya (Jabalpur East), Tarun Bhanot (Jabalpur West), PC Sharma (Bhopal South-West), Surendra Singh Baghel (Kukshi), Jitu Patwari (Rau), Umang Singhar (Gandhwani), Pradyumn Singh Tomar (Gwalior), Mahendra Singh Sisodiya (Bamori) and Priyavrat Singh (Khilchipur).

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