Lucknow: In the first expansion of his ministry after coming to power, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday inducted 12 new ministers, including Vinod Kumar Singh who was dropped after he allegedly manhandled the Chief Medical Officer in Gonda.
Among those who were sworn-in were SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury, considered close to SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh, who was dropped from the UP government in October 2012 after his name cropped up in a case of manhandling of the Gonda CMO.
Tej Narain Pandey alias Pawan Pandey, a former Lucknow University Students Union office bearer, who won from BJP stronghold of Ayodhya, and was part of 'Team Akhilesh' in the run up to the 2012 Assembly polls, has been given a place in the government as a minister of state.
Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, who won from Amethi seat defeating Congress nominee Amita Singh, and Manoj Kumar Pandey, who was elected from Unchahar Raebareli, were also sworn-in at a function at the Raj Bhawan in Lucknow.
Nitin Agarwal, son of SP national General Secretary Naresh Agarwal, Yogesh Pratap Singh, Ram Sakal Gurjar, Alok Kumar Shakya, Vijay Bahadur Pal and Ram Murti Verma have also found berths in the state government.
Among the ministers are three brahmins, five from the backward classes, two from the Thakur community besides one each from the Jat and Vaish communities. Of new incumbents, five each belong to east and west UP and two from central UP.
While Rajendra Chowdhury has been given Cabinet rank, Vijay Kumar Mishra has been made minister of state with independent charge while the other 10 are ministers of state.
Before induction of these 12 ministers, including one cabinet, there were 46 members in the state's Council of Ministers. Now, besides the Chief Minister, there will be 19 cabinet ministers, five ministers of state (independent charge) and 33 ministers of state.
Of the 48 ministers inducted in Akhilesh's cabinet in March of 2012, two berths fell vacant following the death of Sports Minister Kameshwar Upadhyay and removal of Revenue Minister Vinod Kumar Singh after his name figured in a case of thrashing of the Gonda CMO. As per provisions, the strength of Council of Ministers can go up to 60 members.