NCP lawmakers, Independent join Maharashtra cabinet

Mumbai, June 11 (IANS) Five days after the Nationalist Congress Party ordered all its ministers to quit the Maharashtra cabinet, the party effected a reshuffle of its representatives here Tuesday.

Maharashtra NCP president Madhukar Pichad and three other party legislators were sworn-in as new ministers in the state government as part of the cabinet reshuffle.

Dilip Sopal, an independent legislator and former NCP leader, also took oath of office and secrecy. He has earlier served as minister of state for law and judiciary.

The three new faces inducted into the cabinet are Sanjay Savkhare, Uday Samant and Shashikant Shinde.

Pichad, who was tribal minister in Vilasrao Deshmukh's government, Shinde and Sopal will be cabinet ministers while Savkhare and Samant will be ministers of state.

The new ministers come in place of Ramraje Nimbalkar (water resources-Krishna valley development), Babanrao Pachpute (tribal development), Laxman Dhobale (water supply), and minister of state for urban development Bhaskar Jadhav and minister of state for transport Gulabrao Devkar.

Pichad is from Akole in Ahmednagar district, Shinde from Kotegaon in Satara district, Sopal from Barshi in Solapur district, Uday Samant from Ratnagiri, and Savkhare is from Jalgaon district.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar last week sought and secured resignations of all party ministers in the state ministry.

Monday night, NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar handed over the list of its ministers to be dropped/inducted to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Pichad said that those ministers who have been dropped will be drafted for party work.

The oath of office and secrecy was administered to the new ministers by Governor K. Sankaranarayanan at a ceremony in Raj Bhavan.

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