Ajit Singh set to join Union Cabinet

New Delhi: RLD chief Ajit Singh will be inducted as a Union Cabinet Minister on Sunday in a minor expansion of the Council of Ministers by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place at 11.30 AM on December 18, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said Friday night.

The 72-year-old Jat leader from western Uttar Pradesh is being inducted a week after his party formally joined the UPA, the first political outfit to do so since the alliance came to power for the second time in May 2009.

Ajit Singh, whose RLD has five members in the Lok Sabha, had a meeting with the Prime Minister on Monday.

With RLD joining the ruling coalition, UPA's strength in the Lok Sabha has gone up from 272 to 277.

It was not immediately clear whether any one else would be joining along with Ajit Singh, who would become the 33rd minister in the Union Cabinet and 77th in the council of ministers.

There was talk sometime back that Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi, who merged his Prajya Rajyam Party with the Congress earlier this year, may be made a union minister. But there was no word on whether he would be part of the expansion being undertaken in the midst of the Winter Session of Parliament.

The merger of Praja Rajyam Party had helped the Congress to shake off the opposition challenge in the Andhra Pradesh assembly in the form of a no confidence motion recently.