Raipur : Eleven legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has made a triumphant return to power in Chhattisgarh, were sworn-in as ministers Monday. Three of them belong to the Maoist insurgency-hit Bastar region.
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan administered the oath of office to the new members of Chief Minister Raman Singh’s team at the jampacked Police Parade Ground here in a 30-minute ceremony amid loud slogans and clapping by an estimated 15,000 BJP supporters.
The newly sworn-in ministers are Nankiram Kanwar, Brijmohan Agrawal, Ramvichar Netam, Punnuram Mohile, Chandrasekhar Sahu, Amar Agrawal, Hemchand Yadav, Vikram Usendi, Rajesh Munat, Kedar Kashyap and Lata Usendi. Five of them belong to the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.
Raman Singh retained seven members from his previous council of ministers while four new faces also found place.
The maximum strength of the council of ministers in Chhattisgarh’s 90-member assembly can go up to 13, including the chief minister.
Singh inducted three leaders – Vikram Usendi, Kedar Kashyap and Lata Usendi – from the insurgency-plagued Bastar as the party recorded the best ever performance there by winning 11 out of the 12 seats in the region.
“The portfolio allocations are to be made by late evening,” 56-year-old Singh, who took oath Dec 12 for the second straight term as chief minister, told reporters soon after the function ended. The BJP retained power in the mineral rich state by winning 50 seats.
The Scheduled Tribes, who comprise 32 percent of the state’s total 20.08 million population, have got good representation with five legislators from the category inducted into the council of ministers.
There are 29 seats reserved for ST candidates and the BJP has bagged 20 of them.
Punnulal Mohile, a four-time party MP who won the Mungeli assembly seat from Bilaspur this time, will be the lone Scheduled Castes (SC) representative in the Raman government. The SCs comprise roughly 12 percent of the state’s population.