Uttar Pradesh got its youngest chief minister when 38-year-old Akhilesh Yadav,who led his party to a fabulous victory in the Assembly elections,took oath on Thursday. However,his ministry boasts of a large number of experienced faces and only a few fresh names contrary to what he had promised only yesterday.
Nor it is a small ministry as Akhilesh had stated. Besides him,19 Cabinet ministers and 28 ministers of state were administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor B L Joshi at La Martinere College grounds before a huge gathering of supporters of the Samajwadi Party and guests.
In the Cabinet are political heavyweights like Azam Khan,who took oath immediately after the CM; Mulayam Singh Yadavs younger brother Shivpal Yadav,the partys chief whip in the dissolved assembly Ambika Choudhary,Om Prakash Singh,Balram Yadav and Ahmed Hassan.
Rahguraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya,Independent MLA from Kunda and a known history-sheeter,was also inducted in the Cabinet,notwithstanding the SP leaders assertions that they will steer clear of unsavoury characters.
The most prominent among the few new faces was Abhishek Mishra,a former professor of IIM,Ahmedabad,who was projected as the changing face of the SP by Akhilesh during his campaigns. He has been made a minister of state.
The size of Akhileshs ministry clearly indicated that SPs old guards prevailed over in the ministry formation. Akhileshs difficulties in selecting his team in view of the pressures became obvious when the names were kept secret till late last night. The invitation cards to those selected were delivered in the middle of the night.
The final shape to the ministry was given by the SPs national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav. After Mulayam Singh Yadav gave his approval,the list was sent to Raj Bhavan late in the evening,sources in the SP said,adding that Ram Gopal handled the two main camps,headed by Azam Khan and Shivpal Yadav,within the party very well.
The cabinet has six Yadavs,five Thakurs,three Muslims,three Brahmins and two Dalits.
In terms of regional representation,some districts have got two or even three ministers,while some other big districts like Allahabad and Aligarh have got none.
As many as three ministers are from Azamgarh,namely Balram Yadav,Durga Prasad Yadav and Wasim Ahmad. Azamgarh is a stronghold of SP and the party has won 9 of the 10 seats there. Baliram Yadav,Wasim Ahmad and DP Yadav are leaders of equal stature,so none could be ignored,a party leader explained.
From Barabanki,Arvind Singh Gope and Rajiv Kumar Singh have been inducted as ministers of state. Gopes induction has much to do with the SPs future strategies to counter Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma in his native district Barabanki. It is for the first time when a single party has won all the seven seats of Barabanki district.
Another important induction is Raja Anand Singh who has won Gondas Gaura seat. Raja Anand was fileded by the SP to counter Beni Verma in Devipatan range that sends 14 MLAs.
Except Akhilesh himself,Ambika Choudhary,and Balram Yadav all ministers are MLAs. While Akhilesh is a member of the Lok Sabha,Choudhary lost the assembly election from Phephna. Both will enter the Legislative Council in the elections scheduled in May. Balram Yadav is an MLC.
Netaji wanted Choudhary in the ministry. He has good knowledge of parliamentary affairs and will help Akhilesh in the state assembly, a party leader said.
The cabinet ministers are Azam Khan,Ahmed Hasan,Dr Waqar Ahmed Shah,Shivpal Yadav,Ambika Choudhary,Balram Yadav,Parasnath Yadav,Ram Govind Choudhary,Durga Prasad Yadav,Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya,Raja Anand Singh,Raja Aridaman Singh,Om Prakash Singh,Raj Kishore Singh,Brahma Shanker Tripathi,Kameshwar Upadhyay, Raja Ram Pandey,Awdesh Prasad and Shiv Kumar Beria.
The ministers of state are Iqbal Mehmood,Shahid Manzoor,Mehboob Ali,Riyaz Ahmed,Fareed Mehfooz Kidwai,Wasim Ahmed,Narendra Singh Yadav,Shiv Pratap Singh,Rajendra Singh Rana,Moolchandra Chauhan,Arvind Singh Gop,Rajeev Kumar Singh,Abhishek Mishra,Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh,Bhagwant Saran Gangwar,Narendra Verma,Ram Murti Verma,Surendra Patel,Chitranjan Swaroop,Manpal Singh Verma,Kamal Akhter,Shankhlal Mankhi,Kailash Chaurasia,Rampal Rajvanshi,Manoj Paras,Ram Kumar Arya,Aruna Kori and Jagdish Sonkar.
Five of them are first-time MLAs, namely Kamal Akhter,Waseem Ahmed,Abhishek Mishra,Manoj Paras and Jagdish Sonkar.
Seven of the junior ministers are Muslims,two Yadavs,and five Dalits.
The ceremony was attended by a huge gathering of party supporters and invitees from across the country. They included Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,INLD president Om Prakash Chautala,CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat,CPI leader A B Bardhan.
Prominent among non-political invitees were Anil Ambani,Subrata Roy of Sahara and actress Jaya Bachchan.
Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and senior Congress leader Moti Lal Vora,and ministers in the BSP government Naseemuddin Siddiqui and Swami Prasad Maurya were also present.
After the swearing-in,the Chief Minister,his family and his ministerial colleagues attended a dinner hosted by Subroto Roy at Sahara Shahar.