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Hooda accommodates all independents in Haryana government

All seven independent legislators supporting the Congress in Haryana were on Saturday accommodated in the new government headed by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2009 20:48 IST

All seven independent legislators supporting the Congress in Haryana were on Saturday accommodated in the new government headed by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Four were made ministers while three others were sworn-in as chief parliamentary secretaries.

Haryana Governor Jagan Nath Pahadia on Saturday administered the oath of office to six cabinet ministers and three ministers of state at the Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh. The portfolios were announced later in the day.

Five of the cabinet ministers - Captain Ajay Singh Yadav, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Mahendra Pratap Singh, Param Vir Singh and Geeta Bukkal - belong to the Congress while Om Prakash Jain is an independent legislator.

The three ministers of state are Shiv Charan Sharma, Gopal Kanda and Sukhbir Kataria - all independent legislators supporting the government.

Only two ministers in the previous Hooda government (2005-09) - Yadav and Surjewala - made it to the new government in the current round of oath taking.

Yadav will hold the portfolios of finance, planning, irrigation, forests, environment, institutional finance and credit control and Surjewala water supply and sanitation, parliamentary affairs, electronics and information technology, science and technology and public works (building and roads) department.

Mahender Partap Singh would hold the departments of power, renewable energy, labour, employment, food and supplies, urban local bodies and industries and commerce. However, the departments of agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries and cooperation went to Paramvir Singh.

Geeta Bhukkal has been allotted education and languages, social justice and empowerment, women and child development, welfare of scheduled castes and backward classes, health, printing and stationery.

Independent legislator Om Parkash Jain, who also got a berth in the cabinet, will look after transport, tourism, civil aviation and hospitality.

The three ministers of state were allotted portfolios attached to various cabinet ministers.

The accommodation of all independents clearly showed that Hooda was under pressure to give himself a stable government. Four ministerial berths (under law, the ministry can have only 14 ministers, including the chief minister) have still been kept vacant.

Hooda was himself sworn in as chief minister Oct 25 after the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 40 seats in the 90-member assembly in last month's poll. The Congress fell short of a simple majority in the assembly by six seats.

The Congress got the support of all seven Independent candidates elected to the assembly in the Oct 13 election. It also got the support of the lone Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator, Akram Khan.

Former ministers Kiran Chaudhary, who has been at loggerheads with Hooda, and Savitri Jindal, mother of billionaire industrialist and MP Naveen Jindal, were conspicuous by their absence at the swearing-in ceremony.

After the ministers were sworn in at the Raj Bhawan, the scene shifted to the Haryana Niwas in Sector 3 here where Hooda administered oath to nine chief parliamentary secretaries (CPS). Six of them are from Congress while three are independents.

They include Anita Yadav, Dan Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Jaivir Valmiki, Sharda Rathod, Sultan Singh (Congress), Jaleb Khan, Parhlad Singh and Ram Krishan Fauji (independents).

Hooda indicated later to media that there were no talks with the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), led by former chief minister Bhajan Lal and his son Kuldeep Bishnoi, over joining the government.

"Right now there are no negotiations going on with HJC party. We had already told them that they can support us unconditionally," Hooda said.

About the high profile Kiran Choudhary being left out of the ministry, Hooda said there were still four vacancies in the cabinet and a decision about them would be made at the "appropriate time".

About his priorities, Hooda said: "Our priority will be to serve people and to accelerate the pace of development in the state. We would work for the upliftment of poor people and common man. More jobs and education avenues will be generated in the state."