Odisha: Five women in Naveen Patnaik’s 21-member new Cabinet

Odisha Politics

Bhubaneswar, June 5: Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal on Sunday administered oath of office and secrecy to a 21-member new Council of Ministers of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The new Ministers include 13 in Cabinet rank and eight Ministers of State. Patnaik, a five-term Chief Minister, has retained nine Ministers of the dissolved Council and dropped 11 in the revamped team.

On Saturday, the CM asked all his 20 Ministers to resign.

Two Ministers of State (MoS) in the last council, Jagannath Saraka and Ashok Chandra Panda, were elevated to the Cabinet rank. Saraka will hold the portfolio of ST & S.C. Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare and Law. Panda’s portfolio, Science and Technology, remains the same.

Basanti Hembram, a first-time tribal MLA representing Karanjia Assembly segment in Mayurbhanj district, has been inducted as a MoS. She will independently hold the charge of Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti departments.

Six-time MLA Pramila Mallik, who had to resign as W&CD Minister in 2011 over her alleged links in Rs 700 crore mid-day meal dal scam, was made new Revenue and Disaster Management Minister.

Four-time MLA Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, who quit as Health Minister on moral ground in 2016 in the wake of a fire at SUM Hospital which killed 25 people, was made Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare and Cooperation Minister.

Besides, three other leaders -Usha Devi, Pratap Keshari Deb and Pradip Amat – who have earlier worked as Ministers in Naveen Patnaik’s earlier terms were also inducted this time into the refurbished Cabinet.

While Usha Devi was appointed Housing and Urban Development Minister, Pratap is the new Industries, MSMEs and Energy Minister. Amat will hold the portfolio of Forest and Environment, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water besides Information and Public Relations.

Prominent among those dropped include Pratap Jena, Arun Kumar Sahoo and Dibya Shankar Mishra, all of whom had courted controversies triggering State-wide agitation.

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