Water Resources ministry key test for Khurshid
Union Minority Affairs minister Salman Khurshid, who has been elevated to Cabinet rank in Wednesday's reshuffle, had worked on many a party and governmental position in the past.delhi Updated: Jan 20, 2011 03:15 IST
Union Minority Affairs minister Salman Khurshid, who has been elevated to cabinet rank in Wednesday's reshuffle, had worked on many a party and governmental position in the past.
Khurshid, who is an MP from Farrukhabad parliamentary constituency, had in the past served as junior minister of Commerce and Minister of State for External Affairs during the 10th Lok Sabha (1991-96).
Between 1996 and 2009, he served on many party posts, including that of the PCC chief of Uttar Pradesh before coming back in government in 2009 as minister of state (Independent Charge), Corporate Affairs and Minority Affairs.
Khurshid, who has now been made a cabinet minister, has been given additional charge of Minority Affairs other than Water Resources and will be expected do well particularly in the new ministry in which many a decision has political undertones.
The Water Resources ministry was earlier held by Pawan Kumar Bansal. The ministry has suddenly got into limelight with India and Pakistan locking horns over Kishenganga project in Jammu and Kashmir. Work is also on regarding ambitious projects for interlinking of rivers in the peninsular India.
Khurshid's home state Uttar Pradesh is going to polls next year where he is the party's most known Muslim face.
Congress is hopeful of a revival of its fortune in the state particularly after it registered good results there in the last Lok Sabha elections in which it bagged 22 seats with minorities backing the party in substantial numbers.
Khurshid's stint in the Minority Affairs Ministry has not been free from controversies with a number of measures initiated by him failing to see the light of the day owing to stiff opposition by sections of the community.
His initiative to make registration of Wakf properties mandatory was strongly opposed by All India Muslim Personal Law Board and the issue now stands referred to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha for further consultations.
Similarly, the mandate of the much highlighted Equal Opportunity Commission, which was earlier supposed to look after all disadvantaged sections, was kept also limited only to minorities as a number of ministries objected to its expanded ambit.
This year, the Planning Commission also rejected four new schemes of the ministry which were to be taken up this financial year.
Moreover, some Muslim MPs had also met the Prime Minister last year seeking change of head in the Minority Affairs Ministry.
In the party, Khurshid had served as Chairman, Department of Foreign Affairs (1996-97), President, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (1999-2000 and 2005-08), Chairman, Department of Policy Planning and Coordination (DEPCO), All India Congress Committee (2000-03), Special Invitee, Congress Working Committee (2003-04) and General Secretary, All India Congress Committee (2004-05).