Two non-Jats inducted into Hooda Cabinet

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New entrants: Mange Ram Gupta and A C Chaudhary in a jubilant mood in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
New entrants: Mange Ram Gupta and A C Chaudhary in a jubilant mood in Chandigarh on Wednesday.

Rajesh Ahuja

Chaudhary gets Urban Local Bodies, Technical Education

Gupta will look after Education and Languages

CHANDIGARH: Mange Ram Gupta and A. C. Chaudhary were sworn in as Cabinet Ministers by Haryana Governor A. R. Kidwai at a brief and simple ceremony in Raj Bhavan here on Wednesday in the presence of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Both are veteran Congressmen and had served as Ministers in the Bhajan Lal Cabinet from 1991 to 1996.

With the present expansion, the total number of Ministers has risen to 13. There are 10 Cabinet Ministers including the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister and three Ministers of State.

Interestingly, till recently Mr. Mange Ram Gupta, a former Finance Minister, was a close associate of Mr. Bhajan Lal. According to political observers, he had come close to Mr. Hooda after he did not feel comfortable with the strategy of Kuldeep Bishnoi, suspended Member of Parliament and younger son of Mr. Bhajan Lal, to openly attack Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Political observers said Mr. Hooda had maintained caste balance by inducting two non-Jats into the Cabinet.

Mr. A. C. Chaudhary has been given Urban Local Bodies, Industrial Training and Vocational Education and Technical Education. Mr. Mange Ram Gupta will look after Education and Languages (earlier being looked after by PCC president Phool Chand Mullana) and Transport, a portfolio which was earlier held by Randeep Surjewala. Birender Singh will hod the portfolios of Finance, Planning, Institutional Finance and Credit Control and Excise and Taxation. He has been divested of Labour and Employment which will now be looked after by Mr. Surjewala, who retains Water Supply and Sanitation and Parliamentary Affairs.

Harmohinder Singh Chatha will hold the portfolios of Agriculture, Cooperation, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Fisheries.

Ajay Singh will hold the portfolios of Irrigation, PWD (B and R) and Elections. Lacchman Das Arora will be the Minister for Industries and Commerce, Mines and Geology. Minister of State Kiran Choudhry will hold independent charge of Forests, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs and Environment. Minister of State Savitri Jindal will also hold the independent charge of Revenue and Disaster Management, Consolidation and Rehabilitation. The portfolios of the remaining Ministers would remain unchanged, an official spokesman said.



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