18 Ministers sworn in in Gujarat, new faces find place

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Ahmedabad, Jan 4 (UNI) Twelve Ministers in the outgoing BJP Ministry have failed to find berths this time when the new Gujarat Cabinet was sworn in today.

Gujarat Governer Naval Kishore Sharma administered the oath of office to 18 Ministers, nine of Cabinet rank and an equal number as Ministers of state, at 0930 hrs today at a ceremony held on the lawns behind the Gujarat assembly complex.

Mr Ashok Bhatt, Mr Bharat Barot, Ms Jashuben Korat, Mr Murubhai Bera and Mr Anil Patel -- all Ministers in the outgoing Ministry -- did not find a place in today's swearing-in. Seven other Ministers of the outgoing Ministry -- I K Jadeja, Kaushik Patel, Bhupendrasingh Chudasama, Chhatrasingh Mori, Dilip Thakor, Prabhatsingh Chauhan and Ratilal Surejiya -- had lost the elections.

The new Cabinet Ministers in the Narendra Modi government who were sworn-in today, were Vajubhai Vala, Narottam Patel, Anandiben Patel, Nitin Patel, Dilip Sanghani, Fakir Waghela, Jaynarayan Vyas, Ramanlal Vora and Mangubhai Patel.

The Ministers of state who were sworn in were Amit Shah, Saurabh Patel, Jashvantsingh Bhabhor, Kiritsingh Rana, Purshottam Solanki, Parbat Patel, Dr Mayaben Kodnani, Jaysingh Chauhan and Vasan Ahir.

As many as seven Patels, a politically and economically powerful caste in Gujarat, were sworn in today.

Incidentally, during the 2007 Assembly elections, the BJP dissident group was dominated by the Patels and prominent Patel leader and former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel had campaigned against Mr Modi.

Although Mr Ashok Bhatt was not sworn in today, he might be considered for the Speaker's post, according to political sources.

Despite being unhappy with the performance of Mr Ramanlal Vora, he has still been inducted considering his ''Dalit'' affiliations, the sources added. He was the only ''Dalit'' Minister in the last Ministry.

Mr Fakir Waghela, Mr Jaynarayan Vyas and Mr Nitin Patel were not members of the outgoing Ministry. Mr Waghela is an influential ''Dalit'' leader in Gujarat, while Mr Nitin Patel belongs to the Kadva Patel caste.

In the 182-member House, the BJP has 117 MLAs, Congress 59, NCP three and the JD (U) one and two Independents.

In 2002, Mr Modi had initially opted for a small Ministry with only 15 Ministers. However, later, towards the end of 2005, he had expanded it by adding ten more Ministers.

UNI HT/PVN MAZ HS KN1657

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