Maharashtra cabinet expanded, 29 ministers sworn in (Second Lead)By IANS
Friday, November 19, 2010
MUMBAI - The eight-day-old Maharashtra government saw its first cabinet expansion Friday with 29 more ministers being sworn in, among them Congress party strongman Narayan Rane and two women.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also partially effected portfolio allocation, deciding to handle the urban development portfolio himself while handing over the finance ministry to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
Governor K. Sankaranarayanan administered the oath of office and secrecy to 29 ministers, including 19 cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state, at a function held on the Raj Bhavan lawns.
With this, the strength of the Chavan ministry has gone up to 40, including the chief minister and deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
On Nov 11, 11 ministers, including Chavan and Pawar, wdere sworn-in.
The ministers sworn in Friday are: Narayan Rane, Patangrao Kadam, Shivajirao Moghe, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Harshavardhan Patil, Balasaheb Thorat, Anil Deshmukh, Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, Babanrao Pachpute, Rajesh Tope, Rajendra Darda, Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan, Suresh Shetty, Hasan Mushrif, Nitin Raut, Madhukarrao Chavan, Padmakar Valvi, Varsha Gaikwad and Sanjay Deotale.
The new ministers of state include: Ranjit Kamble, Bhaskar Jadhav, Prakash Solunke, Sachin Ahir, Fauzia Khan, Gulabrao Deokar, Satej Patil, Rajendra Mulak, Rajendra Gavit and Dattatraya Sawant.
Among the prominent people in the ministry are Narayan Rane, Patangrao Kadam, besides two women - cabinet minister Varsha Gaikwad of the Congress and minister of state Fauzia Khan of the NCP.
Heavyweights like R.R. Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal from the NCP were sworn-in last week.
The ministers from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were allocated portfolios in the afternoon, shortly after the expansion of the state cabinet.
On the Congress side, Patangrao Kadam will continue as forests and environment minister while Rajendra Darda has been appointed the new minister for school education.
Senior leader Narayan Rane got a jolt when he was shifted from revenue department to the indutries portfolio. The revenue ministry has been handed over to Balasaheb Thorat.
Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil will be the new agriculture minister and Harshavardhan Patil will be the new cooperation minister.
Ajit Pawar will be the new state finance and energy minister, while R.R. Patil will continue as the home minister, in the partial list of portfolios announced soon after the swearing-in.
From the NCP side, former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal will now handle Public Works Department and Tourism, the former finance minister Sunil Tatkare will be the new irrigatation minister, and Jayant Patil will be the new minister for rural development, earlier held by Ajit Pawar.
Rajesh Tope will be the new higher and technical education minister, Hasan Mushrif will be the labour minister, Babbanrao Pachpute will handle tribal development. Anil Deshmukh will be food and civil supplies minister, Vijaykumar Gavit will handle medical education and Laxmanrao Dhoble is in charge of water supply and sanitation.
Present at the swearing-in were Chavan, Pawar, Chairman of the State Legislative Council Shivajirao Deshmukh, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Dilip Walse-Patil, and Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse besides other ministers and officials.