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Meet Team M to be inducted on Thursday

Following are the thumbnail sketches of the cabinet ministers in Manmohan Singh's cabinet:
Agencies | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2009 12:56 AM IST

Following are the thumbnail sketches of cabinet ministers to be inducted in Manmohan Singh's cabinet on Thursday:

1. Virbhadra Singh

Virbhadra Singh is the former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. He belongs to the former royal family of Bushehr state. He last held the office from March 6, 2003 until 30 December 2007. He first held the post from 1983 to 1990 and then from 1993 to 1998. However, he lost the December 2007 elections. Singh was also the leader of Opposition in the state Assembly from March 1998 to March 2003.

2. Vilasrao Deshmukh

Vilasrao Dagadojirao Deshmukh is a key Congress politician from Maharashtra. A grassroot politican, Deshmukh is known for his administrative acumen. He has been a minister in various governments in Maharashtra from 1982 to 1995. He has held the portfolios of revenue, cooperation, agriculture, home, industries and education. Deshmukh handled over a dozen ministries and earned the reputation of being a good administrator with a sense of humour. He was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1999 to 2003, but had to step down in 2003 to make way for Sushilkumar Shinde after factionalism in Maharashtra Congress.

Deshmukh again took oath of Chief Ministership for the second time in 2004. However, after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Deshmukh had to resign in December after his controversial visit to Taj Hotel with film director Ram Gopal Varma.

3. Dr Farooq Abdullah

Dr Farooq Abdullah’s name has been significant in Kashmiri politics since 1980s. He is son of founder National Conference leader Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. He was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from 1982 to 1984. But Governor Jagmohan dismissed him controversially. Abdullah’s National Conference party signed an alliance deal with Congress in 1986 due to which he returned to power. Though Abdullah has now passed the reins of his party to his son, he is still active in politics.

4. Dayanidhi MaranThe second son of former Union Minister and DMK leader Murasoli Maran and the grand nephew of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Dayanidhi Maran was the Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology in the last UPA government. In 2007, however, Maran was forced to resign by his party, DMK, in a reshuffle of portfolios by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. His achievements include reducing the mobile and landline call rates extremely during his tenure. He also fetched good investments for the IT sector and thus contributed significantly towards the success of chip-manufacturing sector. His challenges would be to keep up the work of his last tenure.

He aims to have 500 million mobiles by 2010 and 80 million telephone connections in rural areas by 2010.5. A Raja

A Raja, a lawyer by profession, was Environment minister in the last UPA government, but was later made Minister of Communications and Information Technology after Dayanidhi Maran resigned in 2007. He is entering the Lok Sabha for the fourth time in a row since 1996. Though he had been minister of state for rural development, health and family welfare and cabinet minister for environment, his stint as the cabinet minister for communication and information technology was mired in the spectrum allocation controversy. He is one of the DMK's propaganda secretaries.

6. Mallikarjun Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge won Karnataka assembly elections nine times in a row, eight times from Gurumitkal and once from Chitapur, both in Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency. First win was in 1972 and the ninth in 2008. Elected to Lok Sabha from Gulbarga (SC) constituency for the first time in 2009.

7. G.K. Vasan

Son of G.K. Moopanar, Vasan is a Congress heavyweight during the Indira Gandhi period and the founder of Tamil Maanila Congress, Vasan was a minister of state for statistics with independent charge in the outgoing government. After being elected the leader of Tamil Maanila Congress, he merged the party with Congress.

8. M.K. Azhagiri

Eldest son of DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi, he was sent to Madurai to look after the party affairs in the southern districts to pave the way for his brother M.K. Stalin's progress towards becoming Karunanidhi's political heir. He scored a hat-trick for DMK by securing victories in three assembly by-elections in Madurai Central, Madurai West and Thirumangalam constituencies. He was made DMK's south zone organising secretary.

9. Pawan Kumar Bansal

Pawan Kumar Bansal was one of the key persons in the think-tank of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He was minister of state for finance in the previous UPA government.

10. Manohar Singh Gill

Manohar Singh Gill is a well known bureaucrat/civil servant. Has been secretary in union chemicals and agriculture and chemicals and agriculture, then election commissioner in 1993. Was chief election commissioner from 1996-2001. Elected to Rajya Sabha on Congress ticket in 2004 and was sports minister in the previous UPA government.

11. Kumari Selja

Kumari Selja is elected to Lok Sabha in 1991 at the age of 29. Became union deputy minister and later minister of state for HRD. She was minister of state (independent charge) for housing and urban poverty alleviation in the previous government.

12. Kantilal Bhuria

Kantilal Bhuria was Union minister of state for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution in the last government.

13. Subodh Kant Sahay

Subodh Kant Sahay was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time in 1989, Sahay was union minister of state, home affairs, from April 1990 to November 1990 and union minister of state, information and broadcasting from November 1990 to June 1991. He was re-elected to 14th Lok Sabha in 2004, and made union minister of state (independent charge), food processing. Then elevated to cabinet rank in 2006.

14. Mukul B. Wasnik

Mukul B. Wasnik hails from a Congress family loyal to the Nehru-Gandhi clan. His father Madhukar Wasnik was also a member of parliament from Buldana constituency in eastern Maharashtra. In 1984, he stood from there and was elected, repeating his feat twice later. He was a minister for sports and youth affairs in the P.V. Narasimha Rao ministry (1991-96). This time (May 2009), he was elected from Ramtek constituency. Close to the late prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, Wasnik is a prominent backward class leader of the state.

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