Portfolio allotted to new Odisha ministers; Patnaik keeps home, Pujari finance

The development came days after the Naveen Patnaik government completed three years of its fifth consecutive term as the chief minister.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Hours after 21 MLAs took oath to be a part of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s newly reconstituted ministry, he allotted portfolios to each of them, keeping departments of Home, General Administration and Pension & public grievances with him.

Thirteen MLAs have been inducted in the newly formed state cabinet during the day and eight others appointed as minister of state (independent charge).

The development came days after the Naveen Patnaik government completed three years of its fifth consecutive term as the chief minister.

On Saturday, all 20 ministers of the state resigned, paving way for the reconstitution.

Ministers who have been allowed to retain the departments they held before tendering resignation include Jagannath Saraka, Niranjan Pujari, Prafulla Kumar Mallick, TK Behera and Ashok Chandra Panda.

Saraka will continue to hold the portfolios of ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare with additional charge of Law, while Pujari has been reappointed as finance minister.

Mallick will get to keep Steel & Mines and Works departments, N K Das the health and family department, and Panda Science & Technology, besides Public Enterprise and Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disability.

Behera, apart from holding the sports folio, will also be responsible for the Electronics & Information Technology department.

Cabinet minister RP Swain, who earlier held the food supplies portfolio, has been given the charge of Agriculture & Farmer Empowerment and Fisheries & Animal Resources Development.

Former health minister Atanu S Nayak has been allotted Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, along with the cooperation department, while PK Deb has been given three folios — Industries, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and Energy.

Similarly, Pramila Mallick has been allotted Revenue and Disaster Management department, Usha Devi Housing & Urban Development department and Tukuni Sahu given Water Resources and Commerce and Transport departments.

BJD leader Rohit Pujari will hold the higher education portfolio in the state, while Basanti Hembram allotted the departments of Women & Child Development and Mission Shakti.

Among the ministers of state with independent charge, Samir Ranjan Dash will continue his stint in School & Mass Education department.

Aswini Kumar Patra will be a minister of state in the departments of tourism, Odia Language, Literature & Culture and excise.

Sources in the BJD said new and comparatively younger faces have been made ministers, with an eye on 2024 elections to the Lok Sabha and the state Assembly.

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