The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Modi ministry fuels murmurs

Ahmedabad, Dec. 23: Amid resentment over allocation of “insignificant” portfolios to at least four ministers, chief minister Narendra Modi today retained a number of important ministries.

He held on to general administration, home, energy and petroleum, industry, ports, Narmada, science and technology, information and broadcasting, and policy making. He allocated portfolios to 15 of his Cabinet colleagues today.

Vajubhai Vala, who quit Rajkot II for Modi in February, is back as finance minister. He is no. 2 in the Modi Cabinet.

Vala’s return, however, has angered senior leaders such as Ashok Bhatt, who wanted to retain his favourite health portfolio. He was expecting to be no. 2 by virtue of seniority.

Despite his express desire, Bhatt was given law and legislative affairs with additional charge of pilgrim centre development, cow protection, and non-resident Gujaratis.

Bhatt, who was health minister in the Keshubhai Patel government, is reportedly unhappy with the “insignificant” portfolios he has been allocated.

I.K. Jadeja has bagged the health ministry, along with additional charge of urban development and capital projects.

Narottam Patel has retained water resources and water supply. Kaushik Patel is revenue minister with additional charge of food and civil supplies and consumer affairs.

Anandiben Patel has bagged school and higher education with additional charge of youth affairs, culture and sports.

Bhupendrasinh Chudasama is minister for agriculture, cooperatives, animal husbandry and fisheries. He will hold additional charge of rural housing and rural development.

Sources close to Chudasama said the chairman of Sardar Sarovar Corporation is unhappy because his eyes were on the high-profile Narmada development ministry.

Ramanlal Vora is social justice and empowerment minister, with additional charge of labour and employment.

Mangubhai Patel is tribal development minister with additional charge of forest and environment.

Bid for early local polls

Keen to capitalise on the pro-Hindutva wave, Modi today urged the state election department to hold pending elections to 89 local self-governing bodies at the earliest opportunity.

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