Manmohan Singh’s 78-member council of ministers finalised

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s new government took shape Wednesday with a 78-member council of ministers, including 33 cabinet ministers and 45 ministers of state, being named after three days of intense negotiations.

The new government’s 78-strong council of ministers makes place for 19 allies of the second United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government – seven each from the DMK and the Trinamool Congress, three from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and one each from the Muslim League and the National Conference.

The outgoing government also had 78 ministers, with 23 allies.

While 19 cabinet ministers, including Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and NCP’s Sharad Pawar, had been sworn in last week Friday, 14 more will take oath Thursday morning along with 45 ministers of state, seven of whom will hold independent charge.

The new cabinet ministers include three former chief ministers – Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Vilasrao Deshmukh (Maharashtra) and Farooq Abdullah (Jammu and Kashmir). Three leaders from the DMK, the Congress’ ally in Tamil Nadu, also find place – Dayanidhi Maran, M.K. Azhagari and A. Raja.

The others are the Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge, Kumari Selja, Subodh Kant Sahay, M.S. Gill, G.K. Vasan, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mukul Wasnik and Kantilal Bhuria.

The ministers of state with independent charge are the NCP’s Praful Patel and the Congress’ Prithviraj Chavan, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Salman Khurshid, Jairam Ramesh, Krishna Tirath and Dinsha Patel.

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