Haryana CM Saini expands Cabinet, inducts eight legislators

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Chandigarh, March 19 (IANS) In the first Cabinet expansion under new Haryana Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini, eight legislators were inducted on Tuesday, taking the total strength of the Council of Ministers to 14, including the CM.

Former Home Minister Anil Vij, who skipped Saini’s swearing-in ceremony last week, was conspicuously absent this time as well. However, he told the media that he had no information about the ceremony, adding that he was not upset.

Haryana can have a maximum of 14 ministers, including the Chief Minister. Nayab Singh Saini and five ministers were inducted into the Cabinet last week.

Two-time legislators Kamal Gupta and Seema Trikha were administered oath as new Cabinet ministers by Governor Bandaru Dattatreya in Chandigarh on Tuesday.

While Gupta, a doctor by profession, is the legislator from Hisar, Seema Trikha, the lone woman minister in the Haryana Cabinet, represents the Badkhal Assembly constituency.

Gupta was a minister in the previous Manohar Lal Khattar Cabinet as well.

Panipat (Rural) legislator Mahipal Dhanda and Ambala City MLA Aseem Goel took oath as Ministers of State (independent charge). Goel, a commission agent-turned-legislator, emerged as a giant killer as he defeated former minister Venod Sharma.

The others who took oath as Ministers of State with independent charge include Abhe Singh Yadav, who represents the Nangal Chaudhry constituency, Thanesar legislator Subhash Sudha, Bishambar Singh Balmiki, the legislator from Bawani Khera, and Sanjay Singh, who represents Sohna.

Nayab Singh Saini was sworn in as the Chief Minister on March 12, along with five Cabinet colleagues.

Saini’s name was unanimously decided during the party’s meeting after incumbent CM Manohar Lal Khattar and the entire Cabinet, comprising three members of Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala’s JJP, stepped down on the morning of March 12.

With a stronghold over the OBC community that comprises 8 per cent of the state’s population, Nayab Saini will be the Chief Minister for seven months till the state goes to the polls.

Besides CM Saini, the others who took the oath on March 12 were Kanwar Pal Gujjar, Mool Chand Sharma, Ranjit Singh Chautala, J.P. Dalal, and Banwarilal.

At present, the Haryana Cabinet has 13 ministers — 12 from the BJP and one Independent — apart from the Chief Minister.



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