Haryana Cabinet expansion on December 28; two vacancies to be filled

All Ministers likely to be retained. Two new faces might be inducted

The Haryana Chief Minister’s office on Monday put to rest speculation over the past six months on the possible expansion of Cabinet saying it would take place on Tuesday.

“The Cabinet will be expanded on December 28. The swearing-in will be held at the Raj Bhavan at 4 p.m.,” said a tweet from the official handle of the Chief Minister’s office.

The Cabinet has 12 Ministers, including four Ministers of State, leaving two vacancies to fill — one each from the Bharatiya Janta Party and the Jannayak Janata Party. Chief Minister Manohar Lal had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his official residence in Delhi a month ago fuelling speculation of a possible expansion and reshuffle by the year-end.

Earlier, there was strong speculation of at least two ministers from the BJP quota — Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Om Prakash Yadav and Minister of State for Woman and Child Development (both Independent charge) Kamlesh Dhanda, the lone woman Minister — being on sticky wicket, but the sources in the party told The Hindu that the expansion was expected to be a brief exercise to include a new face from the party’s quota and none of the party’s Ministers was likely to face the axe.

The source said former IAS officer and Nangal Chaudhary MLA Abhe Singh Yadav was likely to be inducted into the Cabinet or he might replace Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, BJP’s Panchukla MLA, who might in turn get a ministerial berth to ensure representation for the Bania community. However, Hisar MLA Kamal Gupta could be also considered in place of Dr. Yadav.

Among the two Jat MLAs in the JJP in the race for the ministerial berth, Tohana MLA Devender Singh Babli, who trounced former BJP chief Subhash Barala with over 50,000 votes, was said to be the frontrunner. Amarjeet Dhanda is another Jat MLA from Julana in Jind district.

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