CHANDIGARH: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday inducted three ministers in the first expansion of the nine-month-old BJP Government.
While Krishan Lal Panwar was inducted as a Cabinet minister and Ghanshyam Saraf as an MoS with independent charge, Nayab Singh Saini was made an MoS. They will be allocated portfolios later. Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki administered the oath of office to the three ministers at the Raj Bhavan. Later, Chief Minister Khattar swore in four legislators as Chief Parliamentary Secretaries -- Seema Trikha, Shyam Singh Rana, Kamal Gupta and Bakhshish Singh Virk -- at Haryana Nivas.
Now there are 13 ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Cabinet, into which one more MLA is likely to be inducted.
Even though there have been rumours about a rift between Khattar and Health Minister Anil Vij, the Chief Minister is unlikely to drop any minister, sources said.
Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu and Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma are likely to be divested of some of their portfolios.
And Khattar himself could give up some of the 18 departments he has kept to himself A former INLD MLA, Panwar had switched sides to join the BJP just before last year’s Assembly elections. He was chosen for the Cabinet berth as the BJP wanted to induct a Scheduled Caste MLA, particularly one from the Chamar community, into the Council of Ministers. Till now, there was only one Scheduled Caste minister, Krishan Bedi, who belongs to the Balmiki community, in the state.
While seniority, RSS support, and his being from unrepresented Bhiwani district helped two-time MLA Saraf land a ministerial berth,
Saini’s induction was part of the party’s efforts to cut to size the Health Minister, who was the sole representative of Ambala district in the Cabinet.