States & UTs

    Naveen Patnaik drops 11 ministers, inducts 12 new faces

    June6/ 2022
    Last Updated:

    Bhubnaeswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday effected a major reshuffle in his three-year-old ministry inducting 12 fresh faces into his new team of 21 ministers. Patnaik, also the president of the ruling Biju Janata Dal, had on Saturday asked all ministers to resign to pave the way for reconstituting the ministry ahead of the 2024 elections to the Lok Sabha and assembly. Among the 20 ministers who quit the previous day, Patnaik re-appointed only nine. Some of those who were dropped include ministers whose resignations the opposition was demanding over various issues. Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal administered the oath of office to 21 ministers including five women. The programme was held at the new convention centre in Lok Seva Bhavan, the state secretariat.

    Of the new ministers, 13 were of cabinet rank while the remaining eight were appointed as ministers of state (independent charge). Three of the five women -- Pramila Mallick, Usha Devi and Tukuni Sahu -- have been given cabinet berths.

    Representation has also been given to leaders of the scheduled tribe, scheduled caste and Other Backward Class (OBC) categories.

    Besides, Patnaik has focused on western Odisha, considered the stronghold of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Of the eight BJP MPs elected from the state in 2019, five are from that region. In the new team, seven ministers are from Western Odisha, one more than the previous ministry's figure.

    Patnaik's new ministry also included two members of the royal family of the state. Usha Devi and P K Deb were appointed as cabinet ministers.

    This is for the first time that Patnaik filled all the posts in the council of ministers by appointing 21 ministers as in his previous terms as CM, he used to keep one berth vacant. Now, there are 22 ministers including the chief minister.

    As per norms, Odisha can have a total of 22 ministers including the CM.

    There are also several other firsts in this entire development.

    For the first time in the political history of Odisha, all ministers were directed to quit. Lal is also the first governor who visited the secretariat to administer the oath of office to ministers.

    In fact, he is the second governor of Odisha to come to the secretariat. In 1979, the then governor Bhagabat Dayal Sharma visited the secretariat to oversee administrative work during President's Rule in the state.

    Sources in the BJD said that Jagannath Saraka, a noted tribal leader, was the first to take oath as he is named after Lord Jagannath.

    ”I am blessed to get the first opportunity to take oath as a cabinet minister,” Saraka said.

    Incidentally, when Patnaik announced the names of BJD candidates ahead of the 2019 assembly elections, Saraka's name was first to be read out from the list.

    Meanwhile, the ailing assembly speaker S N Patro had also quit his post on Saturday but cited no reason for doing so. B K Arukha, a former minister who resigned on Saturday, is likely to be the new speaker, party sources said.

    Patro's son Biplab said that his father is suffering from kidney ailments and infection in the left eye. He has been undergoing treatment at a private hospital.

    The chief minister wished him a speedy recovery.—PTI