LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today expanded his cabinet for the seventh time, inducting three new faces and reinstating sacked minister Balram Yadav, while showing the door to cabinet minister Manoj Kumar Pandey.
The expansion comes ahead of the Assembly elections in the state next year. The new ministers were administered oath by Governor Ram Naik at a function organised at Raj Bhawan in the presence of the CM. However, senior cabinet minister Shivpal Singh Yadav was conspicuous by his absence.
Balram Yadav, who was dropped Tuesday last apparently for facilitating merger of Quami Ekta Dal (QED) of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari with the ruling Samajwadi Party, has been re-inducted as cabinet minister.
Similarly, Narad Rai, who was also removed from the post, was administered oath as the cabinet minister. Ziyaudin Rizvi, who was not present in the city, could not be administered oath.
Ravidas Mehrotra and Sharda Pratap Shukla were administered oath as Ministers of State (Independent Charge). Portfolios to the newly inducted ministers would be allocated later.
With the latest expansion, there is no vacancy left in the Akhilesh ministry, which has a total strength of 60 members. The ministry comprises 26 cabinet minister, 12 MoS (Independent Charge) and 22 MoS.
SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav were present at the oath ceremony.
In the last expansion of his ministry on October 31 last year, the chief minister had inducted five cabinet ministers, eight ministers of state with independent charge and eight other ministers of state.