UPA-II, on Monday, announced possibly its last reshuffle in Rashtrapati Bhawan and inducted eight new faces in the Council of Ministers. The reshuffle, and expansion, of the Cabinet had become necessary after the exit of DMK Ministers as well as the recent resignations of Pawan Kumar Bansal, Ashwani Kumar, Ajay Maken and CP Joshi.
Here's a brief run-down of the new ministers who joined the cabinet today:
Sis Ram Ola: New minister for Labour and Employment portfolio
- A prominent Jat leader, 85-year-old Ola has served a record eight terms as MLA. His induction might prove beneficial to Congress' prospects in the assembly polls to be held in Rajasthan by the end of this year.
- He is replacing Mallikarjun Kharge as the Labour Minister.
- The veteran Congress was also awarded the Padma Shree has been a farmer and social worker. He was awarded Padma Shree award for social service in 1968
Oscar Fernandes: New minister for Road and Highways Ministry
- 72-year-old Congress leader from Karnataka, Oscar Fernandes, has held various key posts in Congress and in the previous Manmohan Singh government.
- This is however, his first stint as a minister in the UPA-II government.
- Fernandes headed the important Central Election Committee of the Congress till Sunday when the post went to Madhusudan Mistry in the party organisational re-shuffle.
Girija Vyas: New minister for Housing, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation
- Apart from being a successful politician with a long and eventful career, Girija Vyas, 66, is also a prolific poet, having published three volumes of poetry in Hindi, Urdu and English.
- An MP from Rajasthan for 28 years, she became the Mahila Congress chief in 1993 and the National Commission for Women chief in 2005.
- Vyas is currently the chief whip of the Congress in the Lok Sabha.
KS Rao: New minister for Textiles Ministry
- Businessman-turned-politician Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, 69, is a strong advocate of united Andhra and is opposed to a separate state of Telangana over which the AP has been seeing a lot of tension.
- He almost resigned his Lok Sabha seat in October 2012, upset over being ignored in the previous Cabinet reshuffle.
- Making an entry into the Union Council of Ministers after almost three decades of Parliamentary run, Rao now represents Eluru seat.
JD Seelam: New minister for State Finance
- 59-year-old Jesudasu Seelam, popularly known as JD Seelam, has been closely associated with the Gandhi family.
- A former IAS officer, the youngest among the eight new ministers, Seelam is a dalit face from Andhra Pradesh and has served as a private secretary to the minister for railways and also to the minister for social welfare.
- JD Seelam has maintained a clean image and is also known as a non–controversial person.
ENS Natchiappan: New minister for Commerce and Industry.
- Natchiappan, 65, one of the three new faces in the Cabinet is a Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu.
- He was a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the 2G scam and has written various books and comlumns on Panchayat Act and for the welfare of schedule castes and schedule tribes.
- Natchiappan addressed the United Nations General Assembly on two occasions, and has been a member of the International Human Rights Organization.
Manikrao Gavit: New minister for Social Justice and Empowerment
- Manikrao Gavit, 78, is a tribal leader and a Lok Sabha MP from Maharashtra.
- In his almost five decade long political career, he has actively participated in the promotion of tribal upliftment and education.
- The nine-time MP, has been a member of various consultative committees including that of the ministry of railways and petroleum and chemicals.
Santosh Chowdhury: New minister for Health and Family Welfare
- The MP from Punjab, Santosh Chowdhary is another of the three fresh faces in the Cabinet.
- The 68-year-old is well-known in a Punjab as a popular social worker who as worked a lot for the poor.
- The highly educated Chowdhary holds many educational certificates including that for military training and has held various key AICC positions throughout her career.
(With IANS inputs)