Indications are that, like Mayawati, he too will enter the Legislative Council

Akhilesh Yadav, who will become the youngest Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh when he assumes office on Thursday, is likely to keep a small Cabinet to begin with. An indication to this effect was given by Mr. Yadav in an informal chat with journalists on Wednesday.

The swearing-in will be at the La Martiniere College ground at 11.30 am. Thereafter, the Chief Minister, Samajwadi Party leaders and the invited guests will proceed to Raj Bhavan for high tea.

The names of the Ministers were finalised by Mr. Yadav and his father, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh, on Tuesday. Among the senior leaders who are likely to take the oath along with the Chief Minister-designate are his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav and senior leader Mohammad Azam Khan. Both are likely to be given key portfolios.

Ambika Chaudhary, who lost the elections from Phephana in Ballia district, is also in line to become a Cabinet Minister. Mr. Chaudhary, who was the Chief Whip of the Samajwadi Party in the 15th State Assembly, was the Revenue Minister in the Mulayam Singh regime of 2003-2007. Two other former Ministers, Waqar Ahmed Shah and Avdhesh Prasad, are also likely to be inducted, sources said.

The names of several other claimants for a spot in the Ministry are making the rounds. They include Leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Parishad Ahmed Hasan, Brahma Shankar Tripathi, Tej Narayan Pandey, Abhishek Mishra and Gayatri Prasad.

Meanwhile, it seems certain that the Chief Minister-designate will enter the State Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad). The biennial polls to the Legislative Council will be held in April as the term of 13 MLCs expires on May 8. If Mr. Yadav becomes an MLC, he will be emulating outgoing Chief Minister Mayawati. She entered the Council in 2007 after the formation of the Bahujan Samaj Party government.

Samajwadi Party sources said invitations to attend the ceremony have been extended to almost all senior leaders, including the United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Krishna Advani, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. A release issued by the State unit of the BJP said Mr. Advani will reach Lucknow at 10.30 am on Thursday.

Swearing-in today at 11.30 am

Shivpal Singh Yadav, Mohammad Azam Khan may get key portfolios