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From music to flying planes, new ministers like it all

New Delhi:  Gossiping with family members to playing veena or flying aeroplanes — the eight fresh faces in the Manmohan Singh cabinet have their own way of spending leisure time in style.

From the elderly V Kishore Chandra Deo to the baby among the new faces Milind Deora, all of them are at least graduates with Minister of State Charan Das Mahant being the most educated with his profile reading "MSc, MA, LLB, PhD".

Mahant, the Korba (Chhattisgarh) MP, lists gossiping with family, music, debates, and travelling as his favourite past time while Jayanthi Natarajan likes to play veena besides getting active in environment protection activities.

Incidentally, Natarajan has been assigned to work in the Environment Ministry. She also loves reading books on philosophy, poetry and humour and enjoying amateur dramatics.

Almost all the new ministers have a taste for music and in young Deora, the Parliamentarians can get a taste of western music as he plays jazz guitar and whose tastes range from Indian classical to the blues. Deora also loves to read biographies.

But it appears nobody could match Trinamool Congress` Sudip Bandhopadhyay as he is the only lawmaker in the current bunch to perform in the Central Hall of Parliament. He sang Rabindra Sangeet on the occasion of Rabindranath Tagore`s birth anniversary in 1998.

If 64-year-old Deo, a post graduate in political science whose interests range from cooking to astrology to music, is the only author among the `chosen eight`, Jitendra Singh (40), a trap shooter of repute, is the only one who had won a national medal in sports.

Deo loves swimming, rifle-shooting, billiards, chess, tennis and cricket while Singh, a BCom graduate, has interests in motor mechanics, flying aeroplanes, photography and trekking in the Himalayas.

It took almost 31 years for Deo to once again get into Union Council of Ministers, his first stint being in 1979.

59-year-old Bandhopadhyay says he is concerned about development and renovation of river Ganga in Kolkata and that he wants to give extra time to make the holy river free of pollution. He spends his leisure time reading national and international magazines and with pets.

Mahant has also interest in Kabir`s poetry and had organised several poetry sessions besides holding talks and exhibitions on painting and art. He had drafted action plan for the upliftment of tribals and encouraged folk-art, drama and songs

Besides music, Deora (35) also likes swimming and playing squash.

Paban Singh Ghatowar (61) organised and participated in educational, cultural and social welfare activities of tribes and communities and is engaged in tea plantation and rural population.

A law graduate, Rajiv Shukla (52) lists journalism as his profession.

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