Cabinet reshuffle: Salman Khurshid Foreign Minister, Veerappa Moily gets Petroleum
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Salman Khurshid was today made External Affairs Minister and Veerappa Moily given Petroleum portfolio as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh undertook a major reshuffle of Council of Ministers and inducted 17 new faces.
As part of the revamp of the government that had faced criticism over perceived policy paralysis and corruption allegations, Pawan Kumar Bansal was shifted from Water Resources to Railways and S Jaipal Reddy moved from the high profile Petroleum to Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.
Former Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman and veteran leader from Karnataka K Rahman Khan made a re-entry into the government as Minority Affairs Minister, a portfolio held by Khurshid. In UPA-I, Khan was a Minister of State.
Surprisingly, Khurshid, who also held the portfolio of Law, got the high-profile External Affairs Ministry despite the controversy surrounding him over allegations of financial bungling by a trust run by him and his wife.
Dinsha Patel was promoted as Cabinet Minister in Mines Ministry in the reshuffle and expansion that raised the strength of the Council of Ministers to 78 from 67. Rahul Gandhi, who was earlier speculated to join the government, kept away with the Prime Minister saying the young leader wants to strengthen the party, notwithstanding his request to become a minister.
The exercise, which the Prime Minister said was "hopefully, probably the last" before next Lok Sabha polls, was confined to Congress party barring the inclusion of Tariq Anwar of NCP as a Minister of State.
22 ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, the Prime Minister, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Cabinet Ministers and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.
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