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Bihar: Nitish inducts 19 new ministers

By Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna
Last updated on: April 13, 2008 22:30 IST
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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inducted 19 new ministers into his cabinet on Sunday.

The much awaited cabinet expansion, the first after the National Democratic Alliance government came to power in November 2005, and a reshuffle of portfolios of the council of ministers, took place on Sunday evening.

Governor R. S.Gavai administered oath of office to the new ministers including 17 cabinet and 2 state ministers in Raj Bhawan amid tight security. 

According to official sources, the new ministers were Nagmani, Jitan Ram Manjhi,Bhola Singh, Ram Pravesh Rai, Dinesh Prasad, Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha, Sahid Ali Khan, Chedi Paswan, Griraj Singh,Renu Devi, Dinesh Chandra Yadav, Hari Prasad Sao,Damodar Rawat, Hari Narayan Singh, Ramanand Singh and Avadesh Narayan Singh.

Those inducted as ministers of state were Jamshed Ashraf and Vayasdeo Prasad.

Soon after the expansion of his council of ministers, Nitish Kumar told newspersons that the new ministers had been given a chance to perform and contribute in the development of the state.

The total number of ministers in the Nitish Kumar government is 36 now.

Nitish Kumar on Sunday dropped ten of his ministerial colleagues, eight from the Janata Dal-United and two from the Bharatiya Janata Party, ahead of the first expansion of his ministry this evening, which was preceded by the resignation of all ministers, excluding his deputy.

Among the dropped ministers, three JD-U ministers and two BJP ministers were of cabinet rank, sources close to the chief minister told PTI.

The BJP ministers who were dropped were Health Minister Chandra Mohan Rai and Arts and Culture Minister Janardan Singh Sirgriwal, the sources said.

Kumar forwarded the resignations submitted by the ministers to Governor R S Gavai, a senior JD-U leader said, adding that their performance was found to be 'far from satisfactory'.

The JD-U ministers, whose resignations were accepted, were state Building Construction Minister Monazir Hasan, SC/ST Welfare and Social Welfare Minister Rameshwar Paswan and Rural Development Minister Baijnath Prasad Mahato and ministers of state (independent charge) -- Arjun Rai (Information and Public Relation), Vishwa Mohan Kumar (Minor Water Resource), Ajit Kumar (Transport), Manzar Alam (Minority Welfare) and Suchitra Sinha (Food and Consumers' Conservation).

Earlier, all the ministers of the Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance government in Bihar had put in their papers as the chief minister set the ball rolling for the expansion and reshuffle of portfolios.

Kumar, however, retained his party's senior ministers including Energy Minister B P Yadav, HRD Minister Brishen Patel, Revenue and Land Reforms Minister Ramnath Thakur, Excise and Prohibition Sudha Srivastava and Parliamentary Affairs Ramashray Prasad Singh and Surgarcane Development Minister Nitish Mishra, party sources said.

Additional reportage by PTI

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Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna
 
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