Four new faces in union cabinet, Arjun Singh left out (Lead)

May 22nd, 2009 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) A 19-member cabinet will be sworn in along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Rashtrapati Bhavan Friday evening in the first round of ministry formation. There will be four new faces among them.
Among the new entrants to the union cabinet are Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress leader; C.P. Joshi, the Rajasthan Congress party president; Veerappa Moily, the All India Congress Committee general secretary; and S.M. Krishna, the former Karnataka chief minister.

Anand Sharma, who earlier was a minister of state for external affairs and also held independent charge of the information and broadcasting ministry gets a cabinet berth and so does Bijoy Krishna Handique who was the minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers and parliamentary affairs.

Former human resources development minister Arjun Singh has been dropped from the cabinet, which many party insiders attribute to his poor health.

According to officials in the Prime Minister’s Office more cabinet ministers, ministers of state as well as junior ministers will be inducted in the second round of oath taking Tuesday.

“I cannot give you an exact figure but there will over 50 ministers who will be inducted in the second round,” said a senior minister of the outgoing government. The next round will also have ministers of state with independent charge, he added.

After the failure of talks with the DMK on the distribution of ministerial portfolios, crisis managers in the Congress party thought it would be best to go ahead with the first round of oath taking where sure-shot cabinet ministers would be included.

With the DMK insisting on seven ministerial berths - three cabinet level, two ministers of state (MoS) with independent charge and two other MoS - Congress managers decided they would engage in another round of discussions to arrive at a compromise formula.

“By this weekend, we will sort out matters on berth allocation with the DMK. And in the next round we also have to include the youth brigade,” said a senior functionary in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The two non Congress leaders to find cabinet berths are Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerjee.

The Congress ministers who will take oath are Pranab Mukherjee, P. Chidambaram, A.K. Antony, S.M. Krishna, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sushil Kumar Shinde, M. Veerappa Moily, S. Jaipal Reddy, Kamal Nath, Vayalar Ravi, Meira Kumar, Murli Deora, Kapil Sibal, Ambika Soni, B.K. Handique, Anand Sharma and C.P. Joshi.

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