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Himachal Pradesh cabinet expansion: Seven ministers take oath

Himachal Pradesh cabinet expansion: Seven ministers take oath

The four-week old Himachal Pradesh cabinet headed by Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was expanded on Sunday with the induction of seven ministers, including Vikramaditya Singh, the son of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

With the induction of seven members, the strength of the cabinet rose to nine.

Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar administered oath to the newly inducted ministers in a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhawan.

Shimla district with seven MLAs has been given a lion`s share in the cabinet with three ministers and one Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS), while Bilaspur, Mandi and Lahaul and Spiti failed to get any representation.

Besides the post of deputy speaker, three berths are still vacant as maximum number of ministers, including the chief minister cannot exceed 12.

The newly added ministers included eldest MLA Dhani Ram Shandil, former minister and three-time MLA from Solan, Chander Kumar, former minister and six-time MLA from Jawali in Kangra district, Harshwardhan Chauhan, six-time MLA from Shillai in Sirmaur district and Jagat Singh Negi, former deputy speaker and five-time MLA from tribal Kinnaur district.

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Four-time MLA Rohit Thakur, three-time MLA Anirudh Singh and two-time MLA Vikramaditya Singh from Jubbal-Kotkhai, Kasumpti and Shimla (Rural) respectively were also among those inducted.

Chief Minister Sukhu and Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri were sworn in on December 11 and the expansion of cabinet was delayed by 28 days.

The Council of ministers comprises five Rajputs, one Brahmin and one member each from Schedule Tribe, Scheduled Caste and OBC categories.

Ahead of the cabinet expansion, Chief Minister Sukhu appointed six CPS and administered them oath of office and secrecy at a simple ceremony.

The CPS included Sunder Singh Thakur from Kullu, Mohan Lal Bragta from Rohroo in Shimla district, Ram Kumar Chowdhary from Doon in Solan district, Ashish Butail from Palampur and Kishori Lal from Baijnath in Kangra district and Sanjay Awasthi from Arki in Solan district.

Two mirrors of the Darbar Hall, the venue of the oath taking ceremony which was packed to capacity, broke as supporters of MLAs tried to barge in.

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