Uttar Pradesh state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav addresses a gathering in Lucknow, India, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Yadav inaugurated 17 projects and laid the foundation stone of 26 others. He also distributed loan waiver certificates to 7,017 farmers, according to local reports. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will expand his ministry on June 27 in perhaps the last reshuffle of his council of ministers ahead of the Assembly election in early 2017.

Governor Ram Naik will administer oath of office and secrecy to the new ministers at Raj Bhawan on June 27, a Raj Bhawan release said.

This will be the seventh expansion of the Akhilesh Yadav ministry since it assumed office in 2012.

In the last expansion of his ministry on October 31, last year, the chief minister had inducted five cabinet ministers, eight ministers of state with independent charge and eight ministers of state.

Speculation of a cabinet expansion has been rife in the recent past and each time the chief minister met the governor in Raj Bhavan, it would give grist to the rumour mill.

After the surprise dismissal of senior minister Balram Yadav from the ministry yesterday following the merger of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal with Samajwadi Party, there are four vacancies in the ministry.

The maximum permissible strength of the ministry, including the chief minister, is 60 in UP.

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