Ten ministers including six new faces from the Biju Janta Dal (BJD) party were inducted into the cabinet of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government on Sunday. Governor S.C. Jamir at the Raj Bhavan administered the oath to the new ministers in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and others leaders of the BJD. On Saturday Naveen Patnaik dropped 10 ministers on grounds of inefficiency, alleged involvement in chit fund scam and poor performance in the rural polls, barring, of course, Pradip Amat.
While Niranjan Pujari, Surya Narayan Patro, Prafulla Samal, Pratap Jena, Sashi Bhusan Behera and Maheswar Mohanty were given the cabinet rank, four took oath as ministers of state. Except for Behera, other five were ministers in the Patnaik government, which has been ruling the state for the past 17 years.
“I thank Patnaik for reposing faith in me. I will perform to best of my abilities for the betterment of the state,” said Niranjan Pujari, who became a minister after quitting the Speaker post in the state assembly. Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick and Commerce and Transport Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi have been elevated to the status of cabinet rank.
The ministers of state are Sushant Singh, Nrushingha Sahu, Chandra Sarathi Behera and Ananta Narayan Das. “I thank the Chief Minister and the people of Odisha for reposing faith in me. I will work with the guidance of Naveen Patnaik,” said Chandra Sarathi Behera. “I will work for strengthening the party and ensure Odisha government’s schemes reach people,” said Sushant Singh.
The distribution of portfolios would be declared later in the day, said sources. The name of Karanjia MLA Bijay Nayak, who was supposed to take oath as minister of state, was dropped at the last minute, sources said.