Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat today organised a State lunch to the newly elected Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his cabinet colleagues along with the other dignitaries at Raj Bhawan here.
The Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states will attend the swearing-in ceremony, said a senior BJP leader.
While picking the members of his Cabinet, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has ignored some old warhorses, choosing instead to place his trust in younger lawmakers. On Friday while, the team met various party leaders and RSS functionaries, to select the next Chief Minister, a sharp rift emerged between the supporters of Prem Kumar Dhumal and Jai Ram Thakur.
Few cabinet ministers are also likely to take the oath, but their names are yet to finalised, said Thakur. After a nail-biting week, he was declared the chief ministerial face. Stokes, who contested and won from the Theog assembly seat of Shimla district in 2012, announced she would vacate the seat for former chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
Sarveen Chaudhary is the lone woman minister in the cabinet and she belongs to the Other Backward Class.
All the Ministers took the oath in Hindi except Suresh Bhardwaj and Gobind Thakur, who took the oath in Sanskrit.
Son of former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram, Anil Sharma defected to the Congress and joined the BJP before the assembly elections in November. The third-time legislator from the Kasauli assembly segment (reserved for the scheduled caste), Saizal is well known in party circles for his simplicity.
Thakur is the first Chief Minister from Mandi, the second biggest district of Himachal after Kangra. Senior leader and former minister Rajeev Bindal was however excluded from the list. One minister each hails from Kullu, Shimla, Solan, Una and Lahaul-Spiti.
BJP had bagged 44 seats in the 68-member house in Himachal Pradesh. The BJP won three seats out of eight here.
The BJP took nearly a week to decide on the Chief Minister after its chief ministerial candidate Dhumal lost the election.
Patnaik took to his Twitter account and posted a congratulatory message for Thakur and his Council of Ministers.