Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday accepted the resignation of Gurudas Kamat, who was reportedly sulking over the portfolio allocated to him.
Immediately after Tuesday’s cabinet reshuffle in which he was made the minister of state for drinking water and sanitation with independent charge, Kamat, 57, wrote to the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying he wanted to be relieved of his ministerial responsibility.
The Prime Minister forwarded his resignation letter to President Pratibha Patil with the recommendation that it may be accepted with immediate effect.
Among the other sulking ministers, Veerappa Moily took charge as corporate affairs minister. But Srikant Jena kept everyone guessing over assuming his portfolio of minister of state for statistics and programme implementation with independent charge.
While Moily had blamed “vested interests” for his removal as law minister, Jena suggested that coalition compulsions had blocked his promotion.
“I am happy with the Prime Minister and Congress president. If they have given me this charge, they may have something in mind. They know that I am a reformist and wherever I go, I have a reform agenda,” said Moily.
Jena stayed at his home and was incommunicado with his staff, saying he was scheduled to go to Odisha in connection with Rahul Gandhi’s rally.
On its part, the Congress disapproved of such actions. “These things should not have happened,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.
On Moily's statements, he said any explanation of any remark made by a minister is a matter between him and the government. “He would explain to the government and the Prime Minister if asked.”
But Congress sources indicated that the party high command is upset over his decision. “There is no vacancy for him in the party….There is no question of pacifying him,” a senior Congress functionary said.
But Kamat on his part sought to clarify that he was not lobbying for any position but had withdrew from active politics.
“I am voluntarily withdrawing from active politics and would not want to be in any position either in the government or in the party. I would want to remain just an active Congress worker,” he said.