Gandhinagar: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inducted first-time MLA from north Gujarat's Himmat Nagar, Praful Patel, as the Minister of State for Home while expanding his Council of Ministers by inducting four new members.
Patel is a replacement for jailed former minister Amit Shah. Shah is an accused in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. Patel was sworn in along with three others at the Raj Bhawan on Saturday.
The expansion was carried out after the strength of Modi's ministry came down to 17.
Besides Shah, Maya Kodnani too had resigned after being arrested in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case. Governor Kamla administered oath also to Patel, Kanubhai Bhalala, Vasuben Trivedi and Pradipsinh Jadeja.
The expansion comes just ahead of elections in six municipal corporations - Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar.
The municipal polls, likely in October/November, will be followed by elections to 20 district panchayats and 150 taluka panchayats by the year-end.
Modi has expanded his Ministry for the first time after being elected Chief Minister for a third term following BJP's victory in December 2007 Assembly elections.
Vasuben Trivedi, a two-time MLA from Jamnagar, is the second woman minister.
Bhalala, a Patel leader from Saurashtra, has been representing Visavadar, constituency of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, since 2002.
Jadeja, who was party chief whip in the Assembly, is the MLA from Asarva in Ahmedabad district, and is considered close to Modi.