Less than a week after the Congress-led alliance pulled off a spectacular electoral win under his leadership, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was administered the oath of office and secrecy by President Pratibha Patil on Friday. A 19 member cabinet was also sworn in on the day.
The oath ceremony launches the second back-to-back term for the soft spoken economist. Incidentally, Singh is the only Prime Minister in the country, after Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, to be re-elected to office after a full term.
The 19 cabinet ministers inducted by the President Patil include, Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee, AK Antony, P Chidambaram, SM Krishna, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Veerappa Moily, Sushilkumar Shinde, S Jaipal Reddy, Meira Kumar, Vayalar Ravi, Murli Deora, Kapil Sibal, B K Handique, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma and CP Joshi also took oath as Cabinet Ministers.
While former Minister for Industries Kamal Nath was the only leader from Madhya Pradesh to be sworn in on the day, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamta Banerjee and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar were also inducted.
The portfolios are yet to be decided, media reports say Premier Singh will expand his council of ministers next week, when several other Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State (MoS) with independent charge as well as other Ministers of State are likely to be inducted.
As for now, Pranab Mukherjee is likely to retain the finance ministry, even as speculations, of SM Krishna and Kamal Nath being delegated the stewardship of the External Affairs Ministry, continued.
Chidambaram and Antony are expected to retain home and defence respectively.
Reports say National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, former AICC General secretary in-charge for Madhya Pradesh Mukul Wasnik, figure on the list of names likely to be included by Premier Singh in his expanded cabinet.
DMK representatives are also likely to be included.