Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik revamped his cabinet on Sunday. He inducted 10 new faces and elevated two Ministers of State. The reshuffle came a day after 10 ministers resigned to pave way for the overhaul.
This was the first reshuffle carried out by BJD president Patnaik since he took over office for the fourth term in 2014. The cabinet rejig was done keeping in mind the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, particularly after BJP’s surge in the recently held panchayat polls in the state.
The ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor S C Jamir in presence of the chief minister and other dignitaries at Raj Bhavan.
“Six new cabinet ministers and four ministers of state were sworn in today. Besides, two MoS were elevated to the rank of cabinet ministers,” Patnaik told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony.
The new faces included SN Patro, Niranjan Pujari, Pratap Jena, Maheswar Mohanty, Sashi Bhusan Behera and Prafulla Samal, who were sworn-in as cabinet ministers.
Meanwhile, Nrushingha Sahu, Anant Das, Chandra Sarathi Behera and Sushant Singh are now made MoS.
Prafulla Mallick and Ramesh Chandra Majhi were elevated to cabinet rank.
Patnaik chose first timer Sashi Bhusan Behera, a former MP, for the finance and excise department portfolio.
Former Assembly Speaker Maheswar Mohanty was given revenue and disaster management department while former cooperation and excise minister Damodar Rout got agriculture, fisheries and animal resource development and public enterprise departments.
Former revenue minister Bijayshree Routray was given forest and environment department while Bikram Keshari Arukha got rural development, information and public relations along with parliamentary affairs departments.
Usha Devi, who had been woman and child welfare minister, was given planning, convergence, skill development and technical education departments.
Rural Development Minister Badri Patra got school and mass education department.
Commerce and transport minister Ramesh Majhi, now elevated to cabinet rank, was given SC, ST, tribal development department while Pratap Jena has been made health and family welfare minister. He will also look after the law department.
Former agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy is now the minister for panchayati raj and drinking water while Prafulla Mallick, after his elevation to cabinet rank, has been named as the energy, steel & mines minister.
First timer Nrushingha Sahu has been given independent charge of commerce and transport department while Sushant Singh is the MoS Labour and Employment and state insurance.
Former government chief whip Ananta Das is now the MoS for higher education while Chandra Sarathi Behera has been made sports and youth affairs minister along with Electronics and IT department.
Pradip Kumar Amat, who had resigned as Finance and Health Minister, is tipped to be appointed as the Speaker of the Odisha Assembly.