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Regional

Three inducted into Himachal Cabinet in first expansion

IANS | July 30, 2020 01:20 PM

SHIMLA:In a first Cabinet expansion in the 31-month old Jai Ram Thakur government in Himachal Pradesh, three legislators - all in the ages of 54 and 56 years, were inducted into the BJP government at a simple ceremony in the state capital on Thursday.
Legislators Rakesh Pathania, 55, Sukhram Chaudhary, 56, and Rajinder Garg, 54, were administered the oath of office by Governor Bandaru Dattatreya at Raj Bhawan. They are first-timers in the Cabinet.

The expansion to strike regional and caste balance was necessitated with the resignation of Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kangra, Power Minister Anil Sharma and Health Minister Bipin Parmar, who was appointed as the assembly Speaker.

Sharma was told to resign after the Congress nominated his son Ashray Sharma from the Mandi parliamentary seat against BJP's sitting Lok Sabha member Ram Swaroop Sharma in the Lok Sabha polls.

Firebrand and three-time Nurpur legislator Pathania, who belongs to the Rajput community, had been vying for a cabinet berth since 2017. Twice he is a BJP legislator and once he won the seat as an Independent.

Three-time legislator Chaudhary from Sirmaur is the leader from other backward classes. Previously, he was parliamentary secretary from 2009 to 2012 in the Prem Kumar Dhumal government. He is a legislator from Paonta Sahib.

First-time legislator from Bilaspur, Garg is known for his proximity with party's national President J.P. Nadda. Nadda belongs to Bilaspur.

Chaudhary and Garg took the oath in Hindi, while Pathania opted for English.

With the induction of three, now the Chief Minister Thakur's Cabinet has 11 ministers -- more than half of them are first-timers. All vacancies were filled.

The oath-taking ceremony was simple with a limited number of people to ensure social distancing amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

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