Lucknow: Senior Akali Dal leader Balwant Singh Ramuwalia has quit the party and joined Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh yadav's government as a minister. Mr Ramuwalia is a former union minister and a long-term aide of Parkash Singh Badal.
Mr Ramuwalia was among the 12 new faces inducted as ministers in the Uttar Pradesh government today, a day after the chief minister sacked eight ministers and took away the portfolios of another nine. 21 ministers, including those who have been promoted, took oath at Raj Bhawan today in one of the biggest reshuffles before Uttar Pradesh goes to polls in 2017.
The move is seen as part of the ruling Samajwadi Party's preparations for the next assembly elections due in 2017.
Overall, 21 ministers, including those who have been promoted, were included in the government.
Arvind Kumar Gope, Kamal Akhtar, Vinod Kumar alias Pandit Singh were sworn in as cabinet ministers in the Akhilesh Yadav government by governor Ram Naik.
Balwant Singh Ramu Waliya and Sahab Singh Saini also took oath as cabinet minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government.
Riyaz Ahmed, Nitin Agarwal, Yasir Shah, Shadab Fatima, Fareed Mahfooz Kidwai and Ram Sakal Gurjar were sworn in as ministers of state with independent charge.
Mool Chandra Chauhan and Madan Chauhan also took oath as ministers of state with independent charge.
Akhilesh Yadav also brought in Radheshyam Singh, Tej Narain Pandey, Pappu Nishad, Shailendra Lalayi Yadav, Omkar Singh and Sudhir Rawat as ministers of state, in his government.
Hemraj Verma, to be appointed as MoS in the Akhilesh cabinet, was unable to reach the swearing-in ceremony on time.
Bansidhar Baudh from Shravasti was also sworn in as minister of state.