Shimla: Jairam Thakur was today (December 27) sworn in as the 14th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh along with 11 other ministers at a ceremony at the historic Ridge Ground here.
Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 52-year-old Thakur, a five-time MLA from Seraj, and other ministers which included six new faces. Thakur is the first chief minister from the second-largest Mandi district.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, BJP veteran L. K. Advani and a host of Union ministers.
The cabinet is complete as all 12 berths have been filled. Two MLAs will be accommodated as speaker and deputy speaker.
Rajiv Bindal will be the speaker of the legislative assembly.
Suresh Bharadwaj and Gobind Singh Thakur took oath in Sanskrit, while the others took oath in Hindi. Sarveen Chaudhary is the lone woman in the cabinet.
The new ministers include Mohinder Singh, Krishan Kapoor, Bharadwaj, Anil Sharma, Chaudhary, Ram Lal Markanda, Vipin Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Gobind Singh, Rajiv Saizal and Vikram Singh.
Besides the chief minister, two ministers are from his home district of Mandi, four from the largest Kangra district, one each from Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Una, Lahaul and Spiti districts.
Bilaspur and Hamirpur, home districts of Union health minister J. P. Nadda and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chamba and Sirmaur districts have been left unrepresented.
The BJP had won 20 seats in Kangra and Mandi districts and also won 13 out of 17 seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and two out of three Scheduled Tribe seats.
Some senior party leaders and former ministers including Romesh Dhawala and Narinder Bragata have not been given berth in the cabinet.
There are six Rajputs including the chief minister, Mohinder, Parmar, Kanwar, Gobind Singh and Vikram, three Brahmins including Bharadwaj, Sharma and Markanda, who is both tribal and Brahmin and two OBCs.
Thakur had earlier served as minister from 2009 to 2012. He was state BJP chief from 2006 to 2009.
Mohinder is seven-time MLA and served as cabinet minister twice in 1998 and 2007 in the BJP government headed by Dhumal, while Kapoor is four-time MLA from Dharamsala and was cabinet minister in the Dhumal government from 1998-2003 and again 2007-12.
Chaudhary is also a four-time MLA and former minister in the BJP government.
Sharma, who deserted the Congress on the eve of elections, is four-time MLA from Mandi and served as minister in the Virbhadra Singh cabinet in 1993 and 2012, while Markanda, a three-time MLA, was minister in the Dhumal government during 1998-2003.
Bharadwaj, from Shimla, is a senior party leader and a four-time MLA. He was also a Rajya Sabha member and state BJP chief.
Kanwar, four-time MLA from Kutlehar, Parmar, Gobind Singh, Saizal and Vikram are among the new faces.
The BJP had won 44 out of 68 seats in the state assembly and after the shocking defeat of BJP’s chief minister Dhumal from Sujanpur, the race was open for the top post and Thakur was elected leader.
Apart from Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Jagat Prakash Nadda, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states like Yogi Adityanath, Manohar Lal Khattar, Devendra Fadanvis and Sarbanand Sonowal were present on the occasion.