Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday assigned portfolios to his Cabinet colleagues, keeping finance and mining with himself and giving the crucial home department to senior leader Tamradhwaj Sahu. The newly-appointed ministers, who took oath early this week, have been allocated portfolios, a government public relation officer in Raipur said. Besides finance and mining, Baghel, heading the first Congress government in Chhattisgarh in 15 years, will handle general administration department, energy, public relations, electronics and information technology portfolios along with the departments not allocated to any other minister, he said.
Minister TS Singh Deo has been given key departments like panchayat and rural development, health & family welfare, medical education, planning, economics and statistics, 20-point programme and commercial taxes (GST). Similarly, Sahu will head important departments like home, public works department (PWD), jail, tourism, dharmsva (religious) and culture. The 69-year-old Sahu is the oldest minister in the cabinet.
The lone minister from the Muslim community, Mohammad Akbar, has been allotted transport, forest, housing, environment, food & civil supplies and consumer protection departments. The youngest minister in the Cabinet, Umesh Patel (34), has been given the charge of higher education, technical education, skill development and janshakti niyojan, science and technology, sports and youth welfare departments.
Minister Jaisingh Agrawal got revenue and disaster management, rehabilitation, registrar and stamp departments while the only woman minister, Anita Bhediya, will head women and child development and Social Welfare departments. Parliamentary work, law and legal affairs, agriculture and biotechnology, animal husbandry, fisheries and water resources departments were handed over to minister Ravindra Choubey.
Senior tribal tribal leader and minister Kawasi Lakhma will look after commercial tax (excise) and industries. Shiv Kumar Dahariya was given labour, urban administration and development departments, while Rudra Kumar Guru has been assigned public health and engineering along with village industries departments.
Senior leader and minister Premsai Singh Tekam will look after school education, scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, other backward class and minorities welfare along with the cooperative department.
The Congress returned to power in the state after 15 years, dislodging the Raman Singh-led BJP government in the November polls. The Congress bagged 68 of the 90 seats in the Assembly, while the BJP won only 15 seats. Deo and Sahu were sworn in as ministers along with Baghel on December 17.
On Tuesday, Baghel had expanded his Cabinet by inducting nine more ministers, who had taken oath at a function in Raipur. The total strength of the Cabinet now stood at 12, including the chief minister.