NEW DELHI: From quiet jubilation to sulking silence—the brief swearing-in ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday — saw the entire rainbow of emotion, with 11 ministers being administered the oath by President Pratibha Patil.
Among those who had a reason to celebrate included V Kishore Chand Deo, Beni Prasad Verma, Dinesh Trivedi and Jairam Ramesh, who have been elevated to the Cabinet rank. Trivedi, in a crisp white dhoti-kurta, and minister of state Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, in his red and yellow turban, were dressed for the occasion.
A beaming Jayanthi Natarajan and Paban Singh Ghatowar were sworn in as minister of state with independent charge. While four ministers took their oath in Hindi, a majority chose to take their oath in the name of God. Minister of state Charan Das Mahant went a step further to express his gratitude in being given MoS rank by touching the feet of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after being sworn in.
Ministers Gurudas Kamat and Srikumar Jena were conspicuous by their absence at the ceremony, making obvious their unhappiness in the apparent short shrift that had been given to them. K
amat, the erstwhile MoS in home affairs and IT & communications, was named MoS (independent charge) drinking water and sanitation. Later in the evening, he resigned in protest against his new portfolio.
Former law minister Veerappa Moily, who has been given corporate affairs, was a subdued version of his usual ebullient self. Those present at the ceremony included vice president Hamid Ansari and Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj. The four key ministers — Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, S M Krishna and AK Antony — were also present.
All the five MoS are first-timers. These include Sudip Bandopadhyay, Charan Das Mahant, Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, Rajiv Shukla and Milind Deora. Deora was accompanied by his entire family, including father Murli Deora, who had resigned in the run up to the reshuffle.
The day was also marked by an unprecedented breach in protocol. The Prime Minister's Office released the list of Cabinet ministers on Tuesday morning as a break in protocol. Usually, the list is issued by the Rashtrapati Bhawan. President's Office sources said the list had been cleared by the President, and it was only an effort towards transparency.