LUCKNOW: Akhilesh Yadav, whose campaign helped the Samajwadi Party gain an absolute majority in the elections, was on Thursday sworn in as the youngest Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh but a surprise inclusion in his Cabinet was the controversial MLA Raja Bhaiya.
38-year-old Akhilesh, son of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, was sworn in as the 33rd Chief Minister of the state at a function at the La Martinere College ground here in the presence of a huge gathering that included members of SP's first family -- Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh's wife Dimple -- and an array of political leaders.
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, CPI leader A.B. Bardhan and industrialists Anil Ambani and Subrata Roy Sahara and actress and former SP MP Jaya Bachchan were also present.
Significantly, Congress which lost a high-stake battle to SP, sent Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and senior leader Moti Lal Vora as representatives to the event. BSP was represented by former ministers Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Swami Prasad Maurya.
Among the 28 Cabinet ministers sworn in by Governor M.L. Joshi were senior leader and Muslim face of SP Azam Khan, Mulayam Singh's brother Shivpal Singh Yadav, Ahmad Hasan, Waqar Ahmad Shah, Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh, Ambika Chaudhary and Anand Singh.
19 others of Minister of State rank were also inducted. Akhilesh, who appeared to give an image of breaking with the past and removing the tag of 'goonda raj' associated with Samajawadi Party's earlier rule, inducted Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, against whom there are pending criminal cases of attempt to murder, kidnapping and abduction.