Naveen expands ministry, three inducted

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 5 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today inducted three ministers into his 47-month-old ministry taking the total strength of the cabinet to 22.

The three ministers inducted into the cabinet were Pradeep Kumar Amat and Sanatan Bisi (both from BJD) and Pradipta Kumar Nayak(BJP).

In addition, Minister of state for health and Family Welfare Duryodhan Majhi and Excise and Tourism Minister Debi Prasad Mishra were elevated to the Cabinet rank.

Orissa Governor M C Bhandare administered the oath of office and secrecy to the three ministers inducted into the cabinet as well as to Mr Majhi and Mr Mishra at a simple function inside the Raj Bhawan.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, several of his council of ministers and senior officials were present at the function.

Out of the three Mr Pradipta Nayak was reinducted into the council of Ministers.

He was sworn in as Minister of state for Labour and Employment in 2004 when the BJD-BJP alliance came to the power for the second time consecutively but resigned in April 2005 from the council of Ministers in the wake of an election case for allegedly supressing criminal cases pending against him during the filing of nominations in 2004 Assembly elections.

Mr Nayak later challenged it and the Court rejected the case filed against him by the Returning Officer.

The two BJD ministers were inducted into the cabinet to fill up the vacancies caused by the resignations of former Mass Education Minister Bishnu Das and former Steel and Mines Minister Padmanav Behera.

While Mr Das resigned from the ministry in August 2007 for his alleged involvement in the mark scandal of his son, Mr Behera tendered his resignation in the wake of communal clash in his Assembly constituency in Phulbani in December last.

All the three ministers sworn in today were taken as Minister of states. This was the second reshuffle of Naveen Patnaik government ever since he assumed power in 2004.

The last major reshuffle was held in 2006 May when four Ministers were dropped and six were inducted into the cabinet.

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