Soon after affecting a minor reshuffle, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday inducted three new ministers in his Cabinet and allocated their portfolios.
Former Speaker Bikram Keshari Arukha, a former senior minister in Naveen Patnaik Cabinet, has been given the Finance Ministry, while the incumbent Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari will henceforth be in charge of the Health Department, which was without a minister following the murder of Naba Kishore Das in Jharsuguda on January 29 this year.
Arukha held several positions since 2008, including government Chief Whip, Speaker, and minister of Rural Development, Law, Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Parliamentary Affairs, Information & Public Relations, Cooperation, and Public Enterprises.
Sudam Marndi, another former minister in the Naveen Patnaik Cabinet, was allocated the School and Mass Education Department. This ministry was also without a minister after former Education Minister Sameer Ranjan Dash resigned from the post last week.
Marndi had earlier served as Minister of State for Sports & Youth Services, ST & SC Development (tribal welfare), and Revenue & Disaster Management. This time, Marndi has been elevated to cabinet rank.
Similarly, Sarada Prasad Nayak has been allocated the Labour Ministry, which fell vacant following the resignation of Srikanta Sahu last week. Nayak served as MoS for Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare, Housing & Urban Development, and Excise between 2009 to 2012.
However, who will be the next Speaker of the State Assembly has not yet been cleared. The probable names for Speaker’s posts making the rounds are Prafulla Samal, Debi Prasad Mishra, Amar Prasad Satpathy, Snehangini Chhuria, and Badri Narayan Patra.
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