Cong downplays Pawar's request to PM, hints at cabinet reshuffle | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Cong downplays Pawar's request to PM, hints at cabinet reshuffle

Congress has downplayed the request of ICC President and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for reducing the burden on him and said his wish could be complied with. Party sources, however, indicated that the statement of Pawar could lead to a Cabinet reshuffle in the near future.

delhi Updated: Jul 06, 2010 12:45 IST

Congress on Monday downplayed the request of ICC President and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for reducing the burden on him and said his wish could be complied with.

"Whatever is his wish.... Politics should not be brought in here. It (the statement) has to be seen from a human angle about a person who recently underwent a surgery," a senior party leader said on condition of anonymity.

Asked whether the party welcomed the statement of Pawar, particularly when he has been criticised in Congress circles for the rising food inflation, the leader shot back, "What is there to welcome? We do not comment on our allies."

Party sources, however, indicated that the statement of Pawar could lead to a Cabinet reshuffle in the near future.

After meeting the Prime Minister, the new ICC President said, "I met the Prime Minister today and have requested him to reduce my burden."

Asked what he meant by reducing the burden, 70-year-old Pawar, who has Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs portfolios but only one Minister of State, said, "That is upto him (Prime Minister). It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister".

He said, "I want more time with my party and ICC and all those stuff. I have agriculture, food and consumer affairs department. For so many years, I have been in the government. This year, I will complete 44 years in Parliament (and Assembly) and I think 25-26 years in the government. Mujhe rahat milna chahiye (I need relief)," Pawar said.