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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Ex-Hry minister to be inducted into Union cabinet

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, June 16, 2013
First Published: 20:44 IST(16/6/2013) | Last Updated: 14:16 IST(17/6/2013)

Rajya Sabha MP and a former Haryana minister, Birender Singh (67) will be inducted into the Union cabinet on Monday. Singh will be the second MP from Haryana to be inducted into the UPA –II cabinet II. Lok Sabha MP from Ambala, Kumari Selja is the Union minister for Social Justice and Empowerment.

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Singh was on Sunday dropped as All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary, thus paving way for his induction into the Council of ministers in Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. The veteran Congress leader told HT over phone that he has been sounded by the party high command for induction into the Union cabinet.

Birender Singh was once regarded as a strong contender for the chair of Haryana chief minister. He however lost the race to Rohtak strongman, Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 2005 when Congress rode to power in Haryana with an overwhelming majority. He was however inducted as a minister in the Hooda cabinet.

In 2009 assembly polls, Singh narrowly lost from Uchana Kalan to INLD chief, Om Prakash Chautala by a margin of 621 votes.

After remaining in political oblivion for two years, Singh was rehabilitated by the party high command. He was elected to Rajya Sabha in March 2011 from Haryana and was also appointed as a general secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC). He was also appointed as AICC in charge for party affairs in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

After 2004 Lok Sabha elections when Congress won all the 10 seats in Haryana, the Congress central leadership had inducted Kumari Selja and Mahendergarh MP, Rao Inderjit as ministers in the Union Cabinet. However after 2009 LS polls only Selja was retained in the UPA-II cabinet and Inderjit was shouldered by the party high command.

Birender Singh who comes from the influential Jat community of Haryana is regarded as critic of Haryana chief minister. Recently, he spoke critically of the Hooda government— sluggish implementation of central schemes for uplift of Dalit -- at a Dalit Jagrukta Sammelan organised at Karnal by Rajya Sabha MP,  Ishwar Singh and attended by Union minister Selja.

Birender’s induction into the Union cabinet is being seen as sort of balancing act being done by party high command to pacify the anti-Hooda camp.


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