The Congress got the largest slice of the reshuffle pie on Sunday, probably the last such exercise by the UPA 2 government before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Of the 22 ministers sworn in on Sunday, 21 were from the Congress. The lone exception, Tariq Anwar, is from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Anwar replaced Agatha Sangma as his party’s third representative in the Union council of ministers, the others being party chief Sharad Pawar and senior leader Praful Patel.
The DMK had already conveyed to the Congress that it was not interested in increasing its representatives in the UPA government despite the two vacancies created by the resignations of A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran in the wake of 2G-spectrum scam.
This was apparently prompted by sharp differences within the DMK on the issue. Currently, the DMK has five representatives — one cabinet (MK Alagiri) and four ministers of state (SS Palanimanickam, D Napoleon, S Jagathrakshakan and S Gandhiselvan).
With the exit of seven Trinamool Congress ministers and inclusion of fresh faces from the Congress, the strength of the Sonia Gandhi-led party in the 78-member Union council of ministers has gone up to 67.
Twenty-eight of the 33 cabinet ministers are from the Congress. The remaining five are Pawar and Patel of the NCP, Ajit Singh of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Alagiri of the DMK and Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference.
All the 12 ministers of state with independent charges are from the Congress.
Similarly, 27 out of the total 33 ministers of state are members of the Congress. The remaining six are from the alliance partners with one each from the NCP and the Indian Union Muslim League (E Ahamed) while the DMK’s tally stands at four.
The Congress is the largest party in the UPA, with 206 seats in the Lok Sabha and 70 seats in the Rajya Sabha. It is followed by the DMK.