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Raman Singh set for second innings in Chhattisgarh

December 09, 2008 14:19 IST

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Coverage: Assembly polls 2008
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh is all set to be elected as the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party Legislature Party  in Raipur on Wedesday paving the way for his heading the party-led government for the second successive term.
56-year-old Singh, who spearheaded the party to an emphatic victory in the Assembly elections which saw the BJP romping home in 50 seats in the 90-member assembly, will be sworn in on Friday.
A meeting of the BJP's newly elected MLAs will be held at the party headquarters on Wednesday where party leaders Ravi Shanker Prasad, in-charge of elections in the state, and Dharmendra [Images] Pradhan, in-charge of party affairs, will be present as observers of the central leadership.
As the BJP prepares to renew its hold over the state for another five years, Raman Singh is expected to induct at least half a dozen new faces in the ministry in view of the defeat of four of his cabinet colleagues in the previous government and the party's splendid performance in the naxal-infested tribal belt of Bastar, Sarguja, Koria and Jaspur.
Among the new faces whose names are doing the rounds in party circles here for ministerial berths are Chandrashekhar Sahu, who defeated Pradesh Congress Committee president Dhanendra Sahu in Avanpur, Saroj Pandey, the Mayor of Durg, Narayan Chandel, the legislator from Janjgir-Chapa and first-time MLA Yudhvir Singh Judeo, son of senior BJP leader Dilip Singh Judeo, from Chandrapur.
Since BJP won 23 of the 26 seats in the tribal belt, which largely helped the party to retain power, it may give more representation to MLAs from this region in the ministry.

Among the possible new faces in the Cabinet from tribal areas are Bhimaram Mandavi who pulled off the giant killing act of defeating the Leader of the Opposition Mahendra Karma in Dantewada and Bharat Sai, the MLA from Kunkuri in Jaspur district.
Among the tribal leaders who are expected to retain their ministerial berths are Ramvichar Netam, who was Home Minister in the outgoing government, Lata Usendi from Bastar region who held Women and Child Affairs portfolio and Kedar Kashyap, son of nine-time Lok Sabha MP from Jagdalpur Baliram Kashyap, who was Public Health and Engineering minister.
Another reason why BJP is likely to give more representation to tribals in the new ministry is that there had been undercurrent of resentment among tribals over their "inadequate" number in the outgoing dispensation.

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