Saturday, October 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Mulayam’s Cabinet now has 98 members
20 SP MLAs, history-sheeters get berths
Our Correspondent

Lucknow, October 3
It was Mulayam Singh Yadav who first decried the then Chief Minister Kalyan Singh for inducting 90-plus ministers in his Cabinet in 1997. Six years down the line, Mr Yadav carried out the largest ever Cabinet expansion today and inducted 91 ministers, taking the total number of ministers in the Cabinet, including himself to 98.

Of the ministers who took the oath of office and secrecy, 24 were of the Cabinet rank and the rest were Ministers of State.

Mr Yadav had earlier inducted six Cabinet-rank ministers. In the new expansion, 20 legislators are from the Samajwadi Party.

Interestingly, in this Cabinet expansion the Congress has not been included as its President Sonia Gandhi has decided that the Congress will lend the Yadav government “outside” support.

Among those sworn in today were legislators from the BSP who had merged with the Samajwadi Party, legislators with criminal background like Hari Shankar Tiwari, Raja Ram Pandey, Arvind Singh Gope, Krishna Pal Singh and Awdesh.

“It was the pressure of coalition politics which has forced the Chief Minister to induct such a large number of ministers,” said Mr Bhagwati Singh, senior Samajwadi Party leader, who was today made a Cabinet minister.

Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav had earlier claimed that his ministry would neither be jumbo nor small. “It would have equal representation,” he had said. It was earlier believed that his ministry would have 55 ministers with allies getting a good representation.

Sources said initially Mr Yadav had proposed names of 56 ministers. The list was sent to the Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri for approval. As word spread, Independent legislators, smaller parties like the Rashtriya Kranti Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the CPM and some legislators from breakaway groups, put pressure on the Chief Minister and got their names included in the list.

Two names were included in the list in the last minute.

“Whosoever went to the Chief Minister with folded hands was obliged,” said a senior Samajwadi Party leader.

With the advent of coalition politics jumbo ministries have become a tradition on Uttar Pradesh. The first jumbo ministry was formed by the then Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in 1997 when he inducted 92 ministers. During Mr Ram Prakash Gupta’s tenure, the number of ministers was 90 while during Rajnath Singh’s tenure, there were 91 ministers.

The erstwhile Mayawati-led government had 79 ministers.

The Congress, too, has ridiculed earlier governments for their jumbo size. Today, standing as an ally of the Samajwadi Party, Congress leaders were mum over Mr Yadav’s cabinet.

“It is the Chief Minister’s prerogative to decide about the size of the ministry. We have no comments to offer,” spokesman of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee Akhilesh Singh said.

Only two women — Usha Verma and Uma Kiran — have found place in the expanded ministry.

Mr Yadav was sworn in alone as Chief Minister on August 29 after the fall of the BSP-BJP coalition government led by Ms Mayawati.


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