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Meet the new ministers in Union Council

Last updated on: June 17, 2013 20:29 IST

PM introduces 8 new ministers in his team

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Eight new faces were inducted in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s council of ministers on Monday, with Sis Ram Ola and Oscar Fernandes making a re-entry after a gap of four years.

With the new inductions, the strength of the Council of Ministers will go up to 77.

The expansion-cum-reshuffle of the Council of Ministers has been necessitated by the exit of ministers from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam as well as the resignations of Pawan Kumar Bansal, Ashwani Kumar, Ajay Maken and C P Joshi. 

Click on NEXT to see the ministers who were inducted on Monday...


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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Girija Vyas

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Girija Vyas is a fourth-term MP from Chittorgarh, Rajasthan.

She will be in charge of the ministries of housing and urban development and poverty alleviation.

Girija Vyas, the Congress MP from Chittorgarh and former head of the National Commission for Women, finally got her due today when she was inducted as a Cabinet minister in the UPA-II government.

Vyas is known for her stint in head of NCW from 2005 to 2011 when she pursued several high profile cases of atrocities against women. As a member of the Public Accounts Committee, she was very active in defending the government during the proceedings in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Vyas has mainly been active in the Congress, having served as a former Pradesh Congress Committee Chief of Rajasthan from 2001-04 and head of the AICC Media Department.

Born on July 8, 1946, Vyas did her Ph.D in Philosophy and even taught the subject in Udaipur university and the University of Delaware, USA. She is a spinster.

A poet and author, Vyas became an MLA in 1985. She also served as a minister in the Rajasthan government.

Vyas was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1991 from Udaipur and was a Deputy minister in the Narasimha Rao government.

Many Congressmen had expected that Vyas will be made a minister in the Manmohan Singh government in 2009.

A good orator, Vyas often leads the debate on behalf of the Congress on important issues in Parliament.

Vyas has authored several books of poems in Urdu, Hindi and English. 

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Image: Girija Vyas
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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Oscar Fernandes

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Oscar Fernandes is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka.

He will take charge of the road and highways ministry. 

Known as a man for all seasons, veteran Congress leader Oscar Fernandes has handled tricky negotiations with north-east rebels, government and party matters, and fluid movements of Kuchipudi dance form with equal ease.

Considered a trusted aide of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Fernandes, 72, makes a comeback to the government -- this time as Cabinet minister -- after having handled key responsibilities, including the head of the party's central election committee.

A five-term Lok Sabha MP from Udupi in Karnatka, Fernandes was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Congress after he lost the 1999 Lok Sabha elections. He is now into his third term in the Upper House.

"Brother Oscar", as he is popularly known, had given his own touch to the talks with the NSCN leaders, beginning the meetings with prayers in which all present participate.

He was a Union Minister from 2004-2009, holding a number of portfolios like Statistics and Programme Implementation, Overseas Indian Affairs, Youth and Sports Affairs and Labour and Employment.

Fernandes was also a close confidant of former prime minister late Rajiv Gandhi.

Son of a school teacher, Fernandes, who was the KPCC president for two terms, is well-liked among party men and known to burn the midnight oil in which ever job he is entrusted with.

Fernandes is also a trained performer of traditional dance forms Kuchipudi and Yakshagana.

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Image: Oscar Fernandes
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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Sis Ram Ola

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Padmashri Sis Ram Ola is an 86-year-old MP from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan.

He will take charge of the ministry of labour and employement.

Congress MP Sis Ram Ola, who was inducted as a cabinet minister in the UPA-II government, is a stalwart leader from the Jat dominated belt of Rajasthan.

A five-time MP, Ola represents the Jhunjhunu parliamentary constituency in the state.

Born on July 30, 1927, Ola was a member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from 1957 to 1990, and from 1980 to 1990 he was a cabinet minister in the government of Rajasthan.

From 1993 to 1996, he was again a Member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.

In 1996, he was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha; he was Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers (Independent Charge) from 1996 to 1997 and Union Minister of State for Water Resources (Independent Charge) from 1997 to 1998.

He was re-elected to the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998, the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999, the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004,and the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009.

He was Union Cabinet Minister of Labour and Employment from May 23, 2004 to November 27, 2004 and was Union Cabinet Minister of Mines in Manmohan Singh's government. His son Bijender Ola is an MLA from Jhunjhunu and is a minister in the state government.

Sis Ram Ola was also a recipient of the Padma Shri award in 1968 for social work.

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Image: Sis Ram Ola
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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K S Rao

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K S Rao is a five-time MP from Eluru in Andhra Pradesh.

He will take charge of the textile ministry.

Businessman-turned-politician Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, who had almost resigned his Lok Sabha seat last October upset over being ignored in the previous Cabinet reshuffle, makes an entry into the Union Council of Ministers after almost three decades of Parliamentary run.

Rao, 69, a strong advocate of united Andhra, is opposed to separate Telangana over which the state has been seeing a lot of tensions.

In October last, the  was almost sure that the Congress leadership will induct him in the Cabinet when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went for a reshuffle of his Council of Ministers. Rao now represents Eluru seat.

But the leadership's decision to exclude him from the ministry upset Rao who then made his displeasure public and announced his decision to quit from Lok Sabha. However, the leadership managed to calm him down.

A loyal Congressman, Rao is presently a member of the crucial Congress Coordination Committee in Andhra Pradesh, set up in 2010 to ensure better coordination between the party and the state government headed by N Kiran Kumar Reddy.

A maverick, he sided with veteran Congress leaders N D Tiwari and Arjun Singh who floated Congress (Tiwari) in 1995 following differences with the then Prime Minister and AICC President P V Narasimha Rao.

Born on October 2, 1943 in Dosapadu in Krishna district of Andhra, Rao got his engineering degree from RegionalEngineeringCollege in Warangal.

Rao, who has business interests in real estate and construction, was first elected as an MP in 1984 and was re-elected in 1989, 1998, 2004 and 2009. He had represented Machilipatnam seat earlier.

The website of his company Progressive Constructions describes Rao as an "accomplished and successful business person" who "sought a higher calling beyond the confines of a commercial office".

"He aspires to continue in public office and take up higher responsibilities to serve the nation for years to come....While Progressive has lost the active involvement of a dynamic entrepreneur like Rao, we derive immense satisfaction from his nation building activities," it says.

His profile in the Lok Sabha website says that he "set up institutes on science and technology, research and management etc and engaged in construction of major irrigation and power projects and multi-storied urban housing complexes etc".

Rao, who describes himself as an agriculturist, engineer, industrialist and political and social worker, was joint secretary of AICC in 1985 and General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee in 1989-94 period and Vice President in 1998.

He has served on a number of parliamentary committees in his long innings as a Lok Sabha member.

Rao, who has keen interest in reading and social service, served in a number of social, educational, cultural organisations and employee associations.

He was a member of the Board of School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, Court of Hyderabad University, Court of Jawaharlal Nehru University among several others.

Rao travelled to about 40 countries as a Member of Parliament. He has a son and three daughter. 

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Image: K S Rao
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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Manikrao Hodlya Gavit

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Manikrao Hodlya Gavit is a nine-term Congress MP and represents Nandurbar in Maharashtra in the 15th Lok Sabha.

He has been appointed the minister of state for the ministry of social justice and empowerment.

The 79-year-old was first elected to the lower house in 1981, after which he has been a regular in Parliament.

Despite his seniority, he was made a minister, a junior one at that, in the home ministry, in 2004.

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Image: Manikrao Hodlya Gavit
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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E M Sudarsana Natchiyappan

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E M Sudarsana Natchiyappan was elected to the Lok Sabha from Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, in 1999, and after that was elected member of the Rajya Sabha from the state in 2004 and 2010.

He has been appointed MoS for the ministry of commerce and industry.

The 66-year-old is a first-time minister.

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Image: E M Sudarsana Natchiyappan
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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Santosh Chowdhary and Jesudasu Seelam

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Santosh Chowdhary, the 69-year-old MP from Hoshiarpur, Punjab, is a first-time minister. She was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1992.

She has been appointed MoS for the ministry of health and family welfare.

Jesudasu Seelam is a Rajya Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh. It was on his charge that Arvind Kejriwal had used abusive language against MPs that the Upper House issued a breach of privilege notice to the civil society activist. A former bureaucrat, the 60-year-old Seelam was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2004, and was re-elected in 2010. He is a first-time minister.

He has been appointed the MoS for the ministry of finace.

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Image: (Left Inset) Jesudasu Seelam; (Right Inset) Santosh Chowdhary
Photographs: Press Information Bureau

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Mallikarjun Kharge

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Senior Congress leader from Karnataka Mallikarjun Kharge has been appointed the new railways minister.

Mallikarjun Kharge became the sixth Railway Minister in four years as Rail Bhavan appears to have become jinxed in the UPA-II.

Three ministers each from TMC and Congress have assumed charge of the ministry during the past four years of UPA-II.

When UPA-II assumed power in May 2009, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee became the Railway Minister. She resigned two years later to become West Bengal chief minister.

Dinesh Trivedi, her party colleague, succeeded her in Rail Bhavan but was forced to quit by the TMC supremo in less than a year after he proposed hike in passenger fares in last year's Railway Budget.

In fact, his exit was so hasty that he was not able to see the passage of the Railway Budget which he presented in Lok Sabha in March 2012.

His position was taken by Mamata loyalist Mukul Roy but he too remained in the post only for about six months as his party withdrew from the government protesting against allowing FDI in retail.

The crucial infrastructure portfolio then went to Road and Transport Minister C P Joshi for a brief period of five weeks before it was finally given to Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Bansal became the first Congress leader in 17 years to get the ministry.

However, Bansal was unceremoniously ousted from Rail Bhavan last month after his nephew was caught by CBI allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 90 lakh to get a senior Railway official a plum posting.

Joshi was again given the additional charge of Railways for 35 days before Kharge got the formal responsibility of running the national transporter. 

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