Ahead of the 2024 general elections, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday revamped his cabinet, inducting 13 MLAs into the cabinet and appointing eight others as ministers of state (independent charge).
The team includes new faces, both younger and senior leaders, and women.
THE NEW CABINET
The cabinet ministers included Jagannath Saraka (ST & SC development, minorities & backward classes welfare, Law); Niranjan Pujari (finance department with an additional portfolio of parliamentary affairs); Ranendra Pratap Swain (agriculture & farmers’ empowerment, fisheries & animal resources development); Pramila Mallick (revenue & disaster management); Usha Devi (housing & urban development department); Prafulla Kumar Mallick (steel and mines, works department); and Pratap Keshari Deb (industries, MSME, energy departments). Earlier, Deb was appointed as the chairman of Odisha State Planning Board.
While Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak was allotted the food supplies and consumer welfare, cooperation; Pradip Kumar Amat was given charge of forests and environment, panchayati raj & drinking water, information and public relations departments. Naba Kishore Das will continue to serve as the health & family welfare minister.
Ashok Chandra Panda was given the charge of science and technology, public enterprises, social security & empowerment of persons with disability portfolios, while Tukuni Sahu has been given the water resources, commerce and transport departments.
Rajendra Dholakia was allotted as the new planning and convergence minister in the cabinet rejig.
The MoS (independent charge) are Samir Ranjan (school and mass education minister); Aswini Kumar Patra (tourism, Odia Language, literature and culture, excise); Priti Ranjan Ghadei (rural development, skill development and technical education); Srikant Sahu (labour and employee’s state insurance minister); Tusharkanti Behera (electronics and information technology, sports and youth services minister, home); Rohit Pujari (higher education department); Rita Sahu (handlooms, textiles and handicrafts); Basanti Hembram (women and child development and Mission Shakti).
“I am thankful to Patnaik for giving me a chance to serve the people of Odisha,” said Saraka.
Pratap Deb said, “The CM has felicitated the leaders who have worked hard to strengthen the organisation.” “It is a happy moment for me,” said Pramila Mallick.
EYE ON POLLS
The focus has been on region, performance, women, youth, new faces and skills. There are seven ministers from Western Odisha — Niranjan Pujari from Subarnapur, Pradip Amat from Boudh, Naba Das from Jharsuguda. Tukuni Sahu from Bolangir, Rajendra Dholkia from Nuapada, Rita Sahu from Bargarh. Five women have been inducted into the team — Pramila Mallick from Jajpur, Usha Devi from Ganjam, Basanti Hembram from Mayurbhanj, Tukuni Sahu from Bolangir and Rita Sahu from Bargarh.
Seven first-time ministers have been inducted — Aswini Patra from Baleswar, Priti Ranjan Ghadei from Jajpur, Srikant Sahu from Ganjam, Rita Sahu, Rajendra Dholkiam, Basanti Hembram and Rohit Pujari.
Nine ministers have been repeated in the ministry. Ranendra Pratap Swain, Jagnnath Saraka, Niranjan Pujari, Prafulla Mallick, Naba Kishore Das, Tukuni Sahu, Ashok Chandra Panda, Samir Ranjan Dash and Tusharkanti Behera will continue in the Cabinet.
With Inputs from Ajesh Mallick and Sumant Sundaray