Eight new faces in Union Cabinet, Kharge shifted to Rail Ministry



Eight new faces in Union Cabinet, Kharge shifted to Rail Ministry Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Eight new faces were inducted in the Council of Ministers in the Manmohan Singh government on Monday, with Sisram Ola and Oscar Fernandes making a re-entry after a gap of four years.

Ola, along with Girija Vyas, Mallikarjun Kharge and KS Rao were inducted as Cabinet Ministers.

Ola and Fernandes were ministers in the UPA-I but did not find a place in the UPA-II government.

Mallikarjun Kharge - Railways.

Sis Ram Ola - Labour and Employment portfolio.

Oscar Fernandes - Road and Highways.

Girija Vyas - Housing, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation

KS Rao - Textiles.

Manikrao Gavit, Social Justice and Empowerment, Santosh Chowdhury, Health and Family Welfare were inducted as Ministers of State.

JD Seelam becomes MoS Finance and ENS Nachiappan Commerce and Industry.

The expansion-cum-reshuffle of the Council of Ministers has been necessitated by the exit of ministers from DMK as well as resignation of Pawan Kumar Bansal, Ashwani Kumar, Ajay Maken and CP Joshi.

The reshuffle of the Union Cabinet comes a day after Congress effected a major organisational change that seemingly had party vice president Rahul Gandhi's stamp on it.

The reshuffle of the Council of Ministers will most probably be the last one in UPA-II with Lok Sabha elections less than a year away.

This is the second reshuffle since October. With new inductions, the strength of the Council of Ministers will go up to 77.

Five months after Rahul Gandhi was elevated to the post of vice-president, Congress carried out the organisation revamp to prepare for Lok Sabha elections.

Ajay Maken and CP Joshi, the two ministers who resigned from the UPA government on Saturday, were given key responsibilities in the organisation.

Maken has been made in-charge of the Congress media wing, meanwhile, former Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni also made a strong comeback into the party fold.

She will now work closely with Sonia Gandhi as in-charge of the Congress President's office.

Party president Sonia Gandhi, who made the changes, also reconstituted the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body and appointed screening committees for poll-bound Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram.

Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and former minister Oscar Fernandes were dropped as general secretaries. Another person who got a huge leg up is Madhusudan Mistry. The low profile leader from Gujarat will now be in-charge of Uttar Pradesh and work closely with Rahul Gandhi.

Mistry also had a successful stint as the party's general secretary of Karnataka where Congress romped home victorious.

Digvijay Singh has been given the task of handling Andhra Pradesh – one of the most challenging states due to the Telangana issue.