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UPA 2014 Team Sworn In

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In an attempt at 'image makeover' by the UPA-II government ahead of the 2014 general assembly elections, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 28 October undertook a drastic overhaul of his ministry.

Seven Cabinet ministers, including new faces K Rehman Khan and Chandresh Kumari, and 15 ministers of state were sworn-in today as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expanded his Council of Ministers in what he said was a "combination of youth, experience and relevance of portfolios". 

Five ministers of state — Dinsha Patel, M M Pallam Raju, Harish Rawat, Ajay Maken and Ashwani Kumar — were promoted to Cabinet rank.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari and actor-turned- politician Chiranjeevi were brought in as Ministers of State with independent charge, while Shashi Tharoor made a comeback as Minister of State after over two years.

12 new ministers of state were sworn-in. They are Tariq Anwar (Maharashtra), K Suresh (Kerala), A H Khan Chowdhry, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhry and Deepa Dasmunshi, (West Bengal), S Satyanarayana, K Jayasuyraprakash Reddy, P Balram Naik, and Killi Kriparani (Andhra Pradesh).

Lalchand Kataria (Rajasthan), Ranee Narah (Assam) and Ninong Ering (Arunachal Pradesh) are the others who were sworn-in as MoS.

Ruling out early elections, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said 28 October's expansion of his Council of Ministers would probably be the last."I don't see early elections. Elections will be held in due course," he told reporters at the Rashtrapati Bhawan after the swearing-in ceremony.

On Rahul Gandhi, the Prime Minister said he always wanted him in the government but he has pre-occupations. "He wants to strengthen the party," he said.

MEA For Khurshid, Sibal Loses HRD, Railways For Bansal
Salman Khurshid got a leg-up when he was made the external affairs minister, a space vacated by S M Krishna. Ashwani Kumar gets law ministry and Pawan Kumar Bansal got the coveted railways ministry. Rahman Khan was made minority affairs minister, Ajay Maken has been put in charge of housing and urban poverty alleviation. Dinsha Patel promoted as Cabinet minister in mines ministry, Pallam Raju was upgraded and made HRD Minister. Kapil Sibal has been left with telecom ministry. Harish Rawat was made water resources minister while Chandresh Kumari is the new culture minister.

Veerappa Moily moved to petroleum ministry from corporate affairs while Sachin Pilot was made minister of state in  corporate affairs with independent charge. while Jaipal Reddy lost the petroleum ministry and was made minister for science & technology and earth sciences. Jyotiraditya Scindia made Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power. Actor-politician is minister of state (independent) tourism.  Tariq Anwar is Minister of State for Agriculture.

Mamata Critics As Union Ministers
Congress sent out a clear signal of taking the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal head on by making three leaders from the state as Union Ministers, two of them bitter critics of Mamata Banerjee. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Deepa Dasmunshi are known detractors of Banerjee, who parted ways with the UPA government two months back after growing acrimony over a host of issues.

Both Chowdhury and Dasmunshi, as also Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, have been elected from constituencies in North Bengal, a bastion of the Congress.

The move is significant as it comes ahead of the panchayat elections in the state at a time when Banerjee is making attempts to marginalise the Congress. Banerjee had led a Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance to power one and a half years ago, ousting the Left Front which ruled West Bengal for three decades.

While 74-year old Khan Choudhury represents Maldaha Dakshin, the party's stronghold for the last nearly four decades, Adhir Ranjan (56) and Dasmunshi (52) represent Berhampore and Raiganj constituencies.

"I am happy over the induction of all the three leaders into the government. They are most deserving," AICC leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal, told PTI.