Congress, govt keep mum on reshuffle rumours
With a party panel expected to submit report on its defeat in recent state polls in the next few days, talk of organisational changes in the Congress and a possible cabinet reshuffle dominated the day. HT reports. Party politicsdelhi Updated: Apr 25, 2012 01:45 IST
With a party panel expected to submit report on its defeat in recent state polls in the next few days, talk of organisational changes in the Congress and a possible cabinet reshuffle dominated the day.
The government and the party, however, chose silence.
Murmurs of a possible reshuffle started in the first week of April after Congress president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi held review meetings on the party's shock defeat in the recent elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Goa and below-par performance in Uttarakhand.
A defence minister AK Antony-led panel is expected to submit a report to Sonia on the defeat and corrective steps needed.
Speculation on a twin revamp strengthened Tuesday after a media report suggested that four union ministers - Salman Khurshid (law), Jairam Ramesh (rural development), Vyalar Ravi (overseas affairs) and Ghulam Nabi Azad (health) - had written to Sonia, expressing desire to step down and work for the party.
Sources close to Khurshid confirmed that he had written to Sonia immediately after the UP elections, offering to serve the party if needed, the other three denied such a move.
While Ramesh dismissed the report as "bogus and not worth commenting", Ravi said, "I have never written any letter".
Sources close to Azad, too, rubbished the claim.In their meeting with Rahul, both the winning and defeated Congress candidates from UP held the central leaders from the state responsible for the defeat. Rahul had led the party's campaign in the state.
Sonia later formed a three-member panel -- Antony, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit - to look into the reasons for the poll setbacks.
The sources indicated that Khurshid was looking at an arrangement as was in the case of Azad and social justice minister Mukul Wasnik. Both are Congress general secretaries and also in-charge of important states.
Tuesday's talk aside, the Congress is looking at major changes, with Bihar and UP chiefs having offered their resignations.
But the changes, if any, will probably be carried out after the budget session that ends May 22 as there is no precedence of a party or cabinet reshuffle when Parliament is on.