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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Leaderless railways waits for minister who can take charge

Agencies  New Delhi , July 11, 2011
First Published: 14:06 IST(11/7/2011) | Last Updated: 17:09 IST(11/7/2011)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again met on Monday to continue discussions on the proposed cabinet reshuffle expected this week, said officials.

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Gandhi's meeting with the prime minister has come against the backdrop of the party giving a final shape to the long awaited reshuffle. However, there is no official word on when the reshuffle would take place.

The two leaders had met on Sunday for a fourth round of consultations on the issue. The party is also consulting its major allies such as the DMK and the Trinamool Congress over the reshuffle.

The talk in Trinamool Congress is that Mamata Banerjee could entrust senior leader Dinesh Trivedi with the railways portfolio she vacated after becoming West Bengal chief minister. Mukul Roy, minister of state for railways, was keen on being promoted but he may have harmed his chances because of the controversy created by his alleged refusal to visit the site of a train derailment in Rangia in Assam.

The railways has been without a minister after Banerjee moved to West Bengal and the lack of leadership has show during crises like the two train mishaps on Sunday.

There has been no official word on when exactly the prime minister would carry out changes in his cabinet, but media reports say about 10 to 12 ministers including new entrants from Trinamool Congress and Congress are likely to be involved in the reshuffle.

Sources said that Trinamool Congress chief whip in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandhyopadhyay may get a berth and could be inducted as minister of state, possibly in the finance ministry in charge of Revenue.

There is also speculation that incumbent minister of state finance in-charge of revenue S S Palanimanickam may be upgraded to Cabinet rank in the wake of resignations by his DMK colleagues A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran from the Cabinet.

DMK may opt for the upgrade in view of the fact that it is said to be not in a mood to name new entrants into the government at this juncture when two of its ministers had to resign under a cloud and party chief Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi is in jail.


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