UPA effects major cabinet reshuffle

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 28, 2012 11:01 hrs

A major cabinet reshuffle was effected on Sunday with the swearing in of 22 new ministers, including many among the existing ministers who were either promoted to cabinet ranks or given independent charge.

Salman Khurshid will be the new External Affairs Minister, reports said.

President of India Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of secrecy and office to the new ministers at Rashtrapathi Bhavan.

The cabinet rank ministers who took oath are K Rahman Khan, Dinshaw Patel, Ajay Maken, Pallam Raju, Ashwini Kumar, Harish Rawat and Chandresh Kumari Katoch.

Ashwini Kumar will be the new law minister of India while K Rahman Khan would be holding minority affairs portfolio.

The two ministers of state with independent charge sworn in are Manish Tewari, who was the Congress spokesperson, and Telugu actor turned politician K Chiranjeevi.

The ministers of state who were inducted in the government are Shashi Tharoor, Kodi Kunil Suresh, Tariq Anwar (NCP), K Jayasurya Prakash Reddy, Rani Nara, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhry, A H Khan Chowdhry, S Satyanarayana, Ninong Ering, Deepa Dasmunshi, Porika Balram Naik, Dr Smt Krupa Ravi Killi and Lalchand Kataria.

A total of 17 new faces would be seen in the new ministry while Andhra Pradesh got maximum representation with five chosen from the state roiled by the demand for a separate Telangana state.

Deepa Dasmunshi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who are from West Bengal, are two leaders from the state staunchly opposed to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee whose Trinamool Congress walked out of the UPA over economic reforms like FDI in multi-brand retail.

A H Khan Chowdhury is another West Bengal leader (from Malda) who was sworn in. He is the brother of late railway minister ABA Ghani Khan.

In perhaps the last major cabinet reshuffle of the UPA before the 2014 general elections, Congress-led UPA tried to infuse young blood.

India would see a new external affairs minister after SM Krishna stepped down to make way for a younger leader. Outgoing Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid is taking over, reports said.

Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily will get Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) will see a younger cabinet as several of the ministers sworn in Sunday are young leaders of Congress.

Media reports said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal might be given the Railway Ministry.

Reports said Kapil Sibal, who is holding now both the Human Resource Development and Telecom ministries, might keep only telecom.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) grappling with graft allegations and coalition disputes aims for an image makeover ahead of the 2014 elections.

The cabinet will get a younger look, since a number of senior ministers of the government have announced their resignations in the last two days to make way for young and more energetic figures.

Former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor made a comeback, while younger ministers such as Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot, led by Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, would be handed over more larger roles.

Reports said some of the ministers would be elevated to cabinet rank.

Earlier on Saturday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay and Minister of State Justice and Empowerment Mahadev Khandela met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and submitted their resignations.

SM Krishna on Saturday met the Prime Minister here to formally submit his resignation as the External Affairs Minister of the country and said ´younger blood´ should be given an opportunity in the government.

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