Akhilesh reinducts tainted leader

Lucknow

Cabinet expansion z 12 new ministers take oath.

In an attempt to balance caste equations, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today expanded his ministry by inducting 12 new ministers, all from communities outside the ruling Samjawadi Party's main base of Yadavs and Muslims.

The new ministers include a cabinet minister and 11 ministers of state, five of whom are young first-time MLAs.

A surprise inclusion was Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh, who had to resign in disgrace as minister of state for revenue on October 12 last year after he reportedly forced his way into the residence of the Gonda Chief Medical Officer Akhilesh reinducts tainted leader at midnight and tried to force him to change the list of doctors selected for contractual appointment under the National Rural Health Mission. Pandit Singh expressed his gratitude for his rehabilitation by touching the feet of the chief minister before and after taking oath, and also the feet of SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The new ministers were administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor B L Joshi at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan, attended by the chief minister, other ministers and senior officers. This is the first expansion of the 11-month-old Akhilesh ministry, which now has 20 cabinet ministers, including the chief minister, and 38 ministers of state.

The lone cabinet minister inducted today was Rajendra Choudhary, MLC from Ghaziabad, who is state spokesperson of the ruling party. He becomes the lone Jat face in the ministry. The ministers of state include four from most backward classes, three Brahmins, two Thakurs, one Vaishya and one Lodh.

Vijay Kumar Mishra, a first-time MLA from Ghazipur, is minister of state with independent charge. Other first-time MLAs made ministers are Gayatri Prajapati from Amethi, Nitin Agarwal from Hardoi, Manoj Pandey from Unchahar and Pawan Pandey from Ayodhya. Nitin is the son of party general secretary Naresh Agarwal.

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