HR Bhardwaj (72), senior Congress leader and Union law minister in the previous UPA government, has no regrets about being left out of the new Council of Ministers.
It isn’t the right “of any individual to remain a minister forever”, he said on Thursday.
Considered a staunch loyalist of the Nehru-Gandhi family, Bhardwaj said: “My loyalty towards Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and my leader Sonia Gandhi is not interlinked with a cabinet position. In my view, I did the work assigned to me during the last five years to the satisfaction of my leaders.”
Asked what in his view could be the reason for his being dropped, the veteran lawyer-turned-politican replied: “The PM and Congress president, in their wisdom, decided to relieve me... There are no regrets.”
Bhardwaj said his party had given him the privilege of being a Rajya Sabha member for 27 years and allowed him to be a minister with three different prime ministers — he couldn’t ask for more.
“It is now time to gradually fade into the sunset, once my Parliament membership comes to an end,” he said.
Asked whether the controversies related to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, accused in the Bofors pay-off case, were responsible for his ouster, Bhardwaj replied: “The controversies were a creation of the media. The entire Bofors case has been a waste of time and money of the nation but still, some people enjoy raking it up time and again.”
The former minister did say though that “some fabricated news reports during the elections were aimed at maligning my image”.