Nine ministers take oath in Chhattisgarh cabinet

Last Updated 25 December 2018, 07:50 IST

With a combination of experience of old and young faces, nine ministers took the oath of office and secrecy in the eight-year-old Congress-led government in Chhattisgarh. Two ministers had already taken oath along with Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel making the cabinet to 12-member ministry including Chief Minister. The total number of ministers prescribed in Chhattisgarh is 13 as per the number of the members of House.

The Chief Minister has carried out a balancing act by providing representation to different communities and regions. Three are former ministers while six are first time ministers.
Ravindra Choubey, a former minister of the first government in Chhattisgarh had been Leader of Opposition but lost the election in 2013. After having won from his traditional seat of Saja, his name was already in top list as a minister, due to his experience and seniority.

MLA from Kawardha, Mohammed Akbar, and this time winning by highest margin votes is also a former minister and was an aggressive Congress leader bringing out different corruption cases of BJP government into public domain mainly the Civil Supplies Scam.

Umesh Patel, son of late Nand Kumar Patel, martyred in Jheeram Valley massacre, is the lone surviving male member and had entered politics by default. As Patel’s elder son late Deepak was being groomed for politics but he lost his life along with his father. So, Umesh was given ticket while in General election 2018 he defeated former Collector O P Choudhary. He also holds the Youth Congress president post.

Shiv Dehriya is a Satnami community leader and had been earlier close to Ajit Jogi, first chief minister but later shifted alliance to Congress as a key Satnami leader. He is presently holding the post of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee working president. He was presently elected from Arang.

Prem Sai Singh is also a former minister in the first cabinet of Chhattisgarh and has been a senior leader with lots of experience in politics from Surguja region. Now, it has to be seen how Chief Minister utilizes his experience mainly as former agriculture minister.

Anila Behdia is the lone woman member in the cabinet. Kawasi Lakhma, Konta MLA also Deputy Leader of Opposition has been a vocal tribal leader from the region. He had survived the Jheeram Valley massacre. He is senior most members from the Bastar region.

Rudra Guru is the Satnami community religious head and has earlier been MLA from Arang but this time had fought from Durg region. He has been made the minister with a target of providing representation for the community.

Jaisingh Agrawal is a second-time MLA from Korba who is close to Charan Das Mahant and T S Singhdeo. Due to his closeness to the leaders, he was already in line of being a minister. Being from Agrawal community, he was also a key candidate as the lone member in Congress to having won election.

So the combination is of three ministers from the tribal community, two from Satnami community, minority 1, general two and remaining OBC candidates.

As per information, now several senior members Satyanarayan Sharma, Dhanendra Sahu, Amitesh Shukla, Arun Vora, Lakheshwar Baghel, Manoj Mandavi, Amajreet Bhagat and Rampukar Singh have been left and only one seat is left. Now it has to be seen that who will be given the post of Speaker, Deputy Speaker, while few others can be made the chairman of different boards or corporations to pacify them.

(Published 25 December 2018, 07:50 IST)

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