Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday expanded his Cabinet. Nine MLAs took oath as ministers. On December 17 when Baghel was sworn in as chief minister, TS Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu had taken oath as ministers.
Those sworn in on Tuesday included four-time MLA Mohammad Akbar, the lone Muslim face inducted into the Cabinet, former Leader of Opposition Ravindra Choubey, Jaisingh Agrawal and two-time MLA Umesh Patel.
Woman MLA Anila Bhedia, and Kawasi Lakhma and Premsai Singh Tekam were the tribal leaders inducted into the Cabinet.
State Congress's working president Shiv Kumar Daharia and Rudra Guru, belonging to the Scheduled Caste community, were also sworn in as ministers.
At most, the Chhattisgarh cabinet can have 13 ministers including the chief minister. The state has 90 assembly seats.
In recently-held Chhattisgarh assembly elections, Congress registered a landslide victory by bagging 68 seats. The BJP, which was in power in the state since 2003, won only 15 seats.
On Saturday, in Delhi, Baghel met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and finalised names of ministers, a party leader said on Sunday.
"The party has tried to give representation to leaders from all the communities in the Cabinet. Almost all the senior leaders have been covered. Besides 11 Lok Sabha constituencies are also kept in mind in view of 2019 elections while finalising the Cabinet", he said.
Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath to the new ministers. Portfolios of the ministers will be decided after the oath-taking ceremony. The ceremony took place at 11 am.
Former Union minister Charandas Mahant, who was one of the runner ups for the chief minister post, four-time MLA Mohammad Akbar, former minister and OBC heavyweight Dhanendra Sahu, senior leader and former Leader of Opposition Ravindra Choubey, former minister Satyanaryan Sharma, Amitesh Shukla, Arun Vora (son of AICC General Secretary Motilal Vora) and woman leader and two time MLA Anila Bhedia were key contenders for the Cabinet berths.
(With PTI inputs)