Lucknow: In the first expansion of his ministry after coming to power, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday inducted 12 new ministers, including Vinod Kumar Singh who was dropped after he allegedly manhandled the Chief Medical Officer in Gonda.
Among those who were sworn-in were SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury, considered close to SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh, who was dropped from the UP government in October last year after his name cropped up in a case of manhandling of the Gonda CMO.
Tej Narain Pandey alias Pawan Pandey, a former Lucknow University Students Union office bearer, who won from BJP stronghold of Ayodhya, and was part of 'Team Akhilesh' in the run up to the 2012 Assembly polls, has been given a place in the government as a minister of state.
Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, who won from Amethi seat defeating Congress nominee Amita Singh, and Manoj Kumar Pandey, who was elected from Unchahar Raebareli, were also sworn-in at a function at the Raj Bhawan here.
Nitin Agarwal, son of SP national General Secretary Naresh Agarwal, Yogesh Pratap Singh, Ram Sakal Gurjar, Alok Kumar Shakya, Vijay Bahadur Pal and Ram Murti Verma have also found berths in the state government.
Among the ministers are three brahmins, five from the backward classes, two from the thakur community besides one each from the jat and vaish communities. Of new incumbents, five each belong to east and west UP and two from central UP.
While Rajendra Chowdhury has been given Cabinet rank, Vijay Kumar Mishra has been made minister of state with independent charge while the other 10 are ministers of state.
Akhilesh on Thursday defended the re-induction of tainted minister Vinod Singh alias Pandit Singh into his Cabinet, saying that nothing has been found wrong against the minister.
Akhilesh Yadav has inducted 12 new ministers into his Cabinet, including Vinod Singh who was dropped out after the allegation of threatening and kidnapping Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in Gonda in October last year for not accommodating his candidate on the list of doctors recruited by the district health department under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
"First of all, I congratulate all the newly inducted ministers. As far the induction of Vinod Singh is concerned, we had set up an inquiry into the matter and now the report has come. The government will take proper action against the people found guilty," said Akhilesh Yadav, while interacting to reporters out side the state assembly.
Uttar Pradesh PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav also came in defence of Vinod Singh and said that the Chief Minister has taken a right decision, as there is no evidence found against the alleged minister.
Other than Vinod Singh, Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury, Tej Narain Pandey, Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, Manoj Kumar Pandey, Nitin Agarwal, Yogesh Pratap Singh, Ram Sakal Gurjar, Alok Kumar Shakya, Vijay Bahadur Pal and Ram Murti Verma have been inducted into the Akhilesh Yadav Cabinet.