In perhaps the last reshuffle and expansion of the Union council of ministers, Mallikarjun Kharge was on Monday made the railways minister as eight more were inducted with veterans Sis Ram Ola and Oscar Fernandes making a comeback.
After yesterday's reshuffle in the party, senior woman leader from election-bound Rajasthan Girija Vyas and K S Rao from Andhra Pradesh were brought in as Cabinet Ministers in today's exercise which was an all-Congress affair. Three new faces -- Santosh Chowdhury, J D Seelam and E N S Nachiappan were made Ministers of State along with veteran Maharashtra leader Manikrao Gavit.
With the fresh inductions, the strength of the Union Council of Ministers has gone up to 77.
The oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers was administered by President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and union ministers among others.
71-year-old Kharge, who missed out in the Chief Ministerial race in Karnataka last month, has been compensated with the heavyweight Railway portfolio after being shifted from Labour and Employment.
Labour has now been given to Ola, the 86-year-old Jat leader from Rajasthan who gets back the same portfolio he had held in the UPA-I.
Fernandes, who had also been Labour Minister and Sports and Youth Affairs Minister in UPA-I, got Road and Highways Ministry, succeeding C P Joshi who resigned over the weekend.
Girija Vyas got Housing, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, a portfolio held by Ajay Maken who also had quit on Saturday to work for the party.
K S Rao (69), a five-time MP from coastal Andhra Pradesh who nearly quit Lok Sabha after being ignored in the Cabinet expansion last year, was given the Textiles portfolio.
Here is the list of newly-inducted minister in the Cabinet:
1. Sisram Ola, 85, gets labour and employment portfolio. He was first elected to Rajasthan assembly in 1957.
2. Oscar Fernandes 72, gets road and highways ministry. He is Rajya Sabha member.
3. Girija Vyas, 66, gets housing, urban development and poverty alleviation. She is former NCW chairperson and MP from Chittorgarh.
4. KS Rao gets gets textiles ministry. He is 5-time Congress MP from Elluru in Andhra Pradesh.
5. Manikrao Gavit, 78, is ministers of state, social justice and empowerment
6. Santosh Chowdhary, Lok Sabha MP from Punjab, gets health & family welfare.
7. EMS Natchiappan, 65, MP from Tamil Nadu, gets commerce and industry ministry
8. JD Seelam becomes minister of state for finance
9. Mallikarjun Kharge becomes Railway minister. He didn't have to take oath as he was already a minister in cabinet.
Among new Ministers of State, Seelam, a former IAS officer, is a dalit face from Andhra Pradesh. He got Finance.
Gavit, 78-year-old tribal leader from Maharashtra and a nine-time MP, has been allotted Social Justice and Empowerment portfolio.
Santosh Chowdhury, a dalit from Hoshiarpur in Punjab, was given Health & Family Welfare Ministry.
Nachiappan, a member of the JPC on 2G scam and a member of the panel of the presiding officers in the Rajya Sabha, was given Commerce and Industry.
The reshuffle was expected for some time after the exit of DMK's six ministers and resignation of Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar.