Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday expanded his cabinet in the seventh and probably the last reshuffle after the installation of his government in March 2012. Former UP minister Balram Yadav, who was sacked by Akhilesh for his role in the merger of Quami Ekta Dal (QED) with the Samajwadi Party , was reinducted into the cabinet. The SP parliamentary board’s decision to call off the merger paved the way for his reinduction in the ministry. The party had on Saturday revoked its merger with gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s QED. The merger of the two parties was announced on June 21 by SP spokesperson and senior cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav, the brother of Akhilesh’s father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. SP leader Narad Rai, who was dropped in 2015 as part of a revamping exercise, was also inducted into the cabinet. Lucknow Central MLA Ravidas Mehrotra, Sarojini Nagar MLA Sharada Pratap Shukla and Sikandarpur (Ballia) MLA Mohammed Ziauddin Rizvi are the new faces in the ministry. The chief minister apparently dropped Manoj Kumar Pandey from his ministry. But this could not be confirmed officially.
Governor Ram Naik administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at a simple ceremony at Gandhi Sabhagar of Raj Bhawan. Rizvi could not take the oath. The last cabinet expansion took place in October last year, and was the biggest under the incumbent chief minister — 12 new faces were inducted into the ministry and portfolios of nine ministers were changed.