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Rahul stamp over cabinet, close aides get berths

The much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle bears a clear stamp of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi as many of those inducted are closely linked to him. Aurangzeb Naqshbandi reports.

delhi Updated: Jul 13, 2011 00:30 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

The much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle bears a clear stamp of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi as many of those inducted are closely linked to him.

Jitendra Singh, one of the closest aides of Gandhi and first time MP from Alwar, joins the Congress-led coalition government as the new minister of state for home.

Since Gandhi took over the charge of the Youth Congress in September 2007, the scion of the Alwar royal family has worked with him in giving a new look to the organisation, starting for the first time internal elections and talent hunt programmes.

Gandhi had made clear his intentions about Singh’s future role recently when he reshuffled his core team. To enable Singh to make his debut in the Union government, he was divested of the responsibilities of holding elections in the Youth Congress and the NSUI and asked to handle the training part only, a charge he will continue to hold as an AICC secretary despite moving to the North Block as the junior home minister.

Another Gandhi confidante, Milind Deora, two-time MP from South-Mumbai seat in Maharashtra, also makes his debut in the PM’s team. He took oath as minister of state for communication and information and technology.

Milind’s father, Murli Deora, had recently tendered his resignation from the union cabinet as the corporate affairs minister.

Congress sources said Gandhi had a hand in the appointment of Rajiv Shukla as the minister of state for parliamentary affairs also.

Similarly, Jairam Ramesh's elevation as a Cabinet minister is also attributed to Gandhi. As rural development minister, Ramesh's first task is to ensure introduction of the controversial land acquisition bill in the monsoon session of Parliament, a promise made by Gandhi to the farmers of UP.

With Uttar Pradesh going to polls next year, Beni Prasad Verma, a prominent kurmi leader with close proximity to Gandhi, has also been promoted as a Cabinet minister.