The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Munda rewards Marandi baiters

Ranchi, March 31: Chief minister Arjun Munda tonight distributed portfolios in a “please-all” exercise that let at least two dissidents have the last laugh in the political drama that crippled Jharkhand for a good part of this month.

While the Janata Dal (United)’s Lalchand Mahto retained energy, fellow dissident Madhu Singh of the Samata Party managed to keep revenue and land reforms with the bonanza of registrations. Singh had virtually fought with former chief minister Babulal Marandi over snatching the registrations department from him.

Another rebel minister Bachcha Singh of the Samata Party, who at the last moment switched sides to Marandi, was given his original urban development ministry, while his party colleague Jaleshwar Mahato was assigned the drinking water supply and sanitation department, the new name of the public health engineering wing.

Fence-sitters Samresh Singh was given back science and technology and information technology and Joba Manjhi was realloted tourism, social welfare and housing, while the Dal (United)’s Baijnath Ram, a protege of Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari, was given the more important excise and prohibition.

Major changes were effected in the portfolios of the BJP ministers. Former law minister Ramjilal Sharda was given charge of commercial taxes and national savings with the chief minister holding law. Devdayal Kushwaha was shifted from agriculture to food and civil supplies.

Ten departments have been retained by chief minister, fuelling speculation that another Cabinet expansion might not be far away.

The portfolios are as follows.

Arjun Munda: Cabinet secretariat, Cabinet coordination, home, public relations, personnel, Raj Bhasha, administrative reforms, institutional finance, programme implementation, relief and rehabilitation, mines and geology, law, fisheries, animal husbandry and departments not allocated to anyone.

Cabinet ministers: Yamuna Singh: forest and environment; Devdayal Kushwaha: food, civil supplies and cooperatives; Mrigendra Pratap Singh: finance, parliamentary affairs; Ramjilal Sharda: commercial taxes, national savings; Devdhan Besra: agriculture; Chandra Mohan Prasad: rural development; Raghuvar Das: building construction; Pashupati Nath Singh: human resources development; Sadhnu Bhagat: labour, employment, training; Ravindra Rai: industry; Dinesh Kumar Sarangi: health, family welfare, medical education; Madhu Koda: panchayati raj, NREP; Ramchandra Kesri: water resources; Madhu Singh: revenue, land reforms, registrations; Jaleshwar Mahto: drinking water supply, sanitation; Bachcha Singh: urban development: Ramesh Singh Munda: tribal, SC, OBC and minorities welfare; Lalchand Mahto: energy; Baijayanath Ram: excise and prohibition; Sudesh Mahto: Road construction; Joba Manchi: tourism, social welfare, housing; Samresh Singh: science & technology, information technology; Madhavlal Singh: transport.

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