Another minister to be appointed soon â€“ Virbhadra
Governor VS Kokje, administered the oath of office and secrecy to Sujan Singh Pathania, who was inducted as a cabinet minister into the four and a half year old Virbhadra Singh led congress government at a simple but impressive ceremony, held at Raj Bhawan today. The new minister was allotted charge of health and transport ministries.
Talking to mediapersons after the swearing in ceremony, Virbhadra Singh said that there are 12 cabinet slots in the HP government and only 11 stand fulfilled. He said that another induction would soon be done to fill the vacancy. However, he ruled out appointing any parliamentary secretaries.
Pathania, who hails from Jawali constituency in Kangra district, is a Rajput leader who is a fourth term legislator. He has also remained a minister of state in an earlier Virbhadra Singh government.
In the present term this is the first expansion carried out by the chief minister. While one cabinet slot has been lying vacant for quiet some time, the other slot fell vacant last week as tourism and transport minister GS Bali, was made to resign over a TV sting operation that showed the erring minister attending a party that did not reflect good moral conduct in public life. While the transport portfolio has been handed out to Pathania, the chief minister has decided to retain the tourism ministry with himself.