M A I N   N E W S

Haryana Cabinet swearing-in today
Surjewala, Chander Mohan may find place in ministry
Yoginder Gupta & Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
Ten ministers of the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress Government in Haryana will be sworn in here tomorrow. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at 5 pm at Raj Bhavan.

The Chief Minister, Mr Hooda, is tight-lipped about the names of the ministers who will be sworn in tomorrow. However, it is learnt that Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, former officiating Leader of the Congress Legislature Party; Mr Birender Singh, a former Haryana Congress president; Mr O.P. Jindal, industrialist-turned-politician, Mr Surender Singh, former secretary-general of the Haryana Vikas Party of Mr Bansi Lal; Mr Randeep Surjewala, Working president of the Haryana Congress; and Mr Harmohinder Singh Chatha, former Speaker of the Haryana Assembly, are almost certain to join the Hooda Cabinet tomorrow.

Sources said that the others who might make it to the Secretariat, included Mr Chander Mohan, elder son of Mr Bhajan Lal, president of the Haryana Congress; Mr Venod Sharma, a former Union Minister of State; Mr Azad Mohd, and Mrs Kartari Devi, a former minister and MLA from Kalanaur.

The Chief Minister was keeping three seats in the Cabinet vacant, probably to keep the carrot hanging before the hopefuls. These berths would be filled after the first session of the Vidhan Sabha. The sources also did not rule out the possibility of a difference of opinion among various factions of the party on the names of candidates for these posts.

Since there were several administrative works, demanding immediate attention of the Cabinet, its formation could not be delayed further. If the ministers could not have been sworn in tomorrow, the ministry-making exercise would have to wait till March 14.

The Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, would administer the oath of office to the new Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on March 11 before he leaves for Delhi and Gorakhpur on a personal visit the same day.

The most important administrative work would be the preparation of the Governorís address which had to be presented before the Vidhan Sabha in its first session. The excise policy of the state was another pressing administrative work because the liquor vends were to be auctioned before March 31. It was for these reasons why the ministry formation could not be delayed further.

Captain Yadav is the fifth-time MLA from Rewari. He is the senior-most Ahir MLA. His performance as the Leader of the CLP had been widely appreciated. Moreover, his role in the ticket distribution was non-partisan. Mr Chatha is the lone Sikh Congress MLA and a die-hard supporter of Mr Hooda.

Mr Jindalís son, Naveen, is the MP from Kurukshetra. He represents the Aggarwal community. Mr Surjewala defeated the former Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, in a tough contest.

The induction of Mrs Kartari Devi will serve two purposes. She will represent women as well as the Dalits. Another veteran woman leader, Mrs Prassini Devi, may fail to make to the Cabinet because Jats, the community to which she belongs, would have sufficient representation in the ministry.

Mr Hooda has tried to give representation to as many sections of society as possible within the limited number of Cabinet seats. He has sacrificed many of his hardcore supporters to give representation to various regions and communities.

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