Jena may soon join UPA cabinet

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 29, 2013 02:14 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may shuffle his pack of ministers soon following the exit of the DMK and its four ministers from the UPA government.

Sources in the ruling dispensation, however, claimed that the reshuffle— primarily aimed to fill up slots left by the DMK— is likely to remain a low-key exercise.

 Last Thursday, the DMK had formally withdrawn its support and MK Alagiri (cabinet minister of chemicals and fertilizers), SS Palanimanickam, (minister of state for finance), S Gandhiselvan (MoS for health), S Jagathrakshakan, (MoS for commerce and industry) and D Nepoleon (MoS for social justice and empowerment) submitted their resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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 Singh, who returned from the Durban BRICS summit on Thursday, is expected to talk to Congress president Sonia Gandhi during the weekend on the possible re-allocation of portfolios and induction of new faces in the council of ministers.

Sources added that Srikant Jena, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for chemicals and fertilizers, may be given a cabinet rank. Jena had been demanding an elevated status ever since he joined the government in 2009 as MoS as he was already a cabinet minister way back in 1996 United Front government.

 Jena’s elevation may also fit in with the Congress plan to revamp its organization in Odisha where assembly elections are due in 2014.

The party may add a couple of new young ministers and reshuffle the remaining vacant slots among existing members.

 The last cabinet reshuffle had taken place in October last year where Salman Khurshid replaced SM Krishna in external affairs ministry and Pallam Raju became the cabinet minister for human resource development, among other changes.

 

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