PM, Sonia trudge middle path
In January, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised an expansive reshuffle but when it did take place on Tuesday, it remained an incomplete exercise with some angularities still to be ironed out despite the blending of experience with young inductees like Jitendra Singh and Milind Deora. HT reports. The ministersdelhi Updated: Jul 13, 2011 02:16 IST
In January, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised an expansive reshuffle but when it did take place on Tuesday, it remained an incomplete exercise with some angularities still to be ironed out despite the blending of experience with young inductees like Jitendra Singh and Milind Deora.
It even raised speculation of another revamp before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which the PM was quick to dismiss, after the swearing-in ceremony.
This impression gained ground despite four rounds of intense consultations between the PM and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
For one, in a show of displeasure DMK chief Karunanidhi did not nominate anyone in lieu of A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, who quit as telecom and textiles ministers respectively following the 2G scandal.
But Singh said he will keep space for DMK nominees. Kapil Sibal accordingly retains telecom along with HRD and commerce minister Anand Sharma keeps textiles.
But the problem wasn’t with allies alone. In a major embarrassment to his party, Congress minister Gurudas Kamat didn’t come for the ceremony. Kamat, who was elevated as MoS with independent charge to oversee the newly carved out ministry of drinking water and sanitation, was unhappy at not making it as a cabinet minister and resigned the same day after staying absent from the ceremony.
Srikant Jena, a minister in the HD Deve Gowda government, may also be unhappy at not being given that rank but he also knows that he really cannot do much about it. Some ministers are upset with their new portfolios.
The instances reflect the dilemmas Singh and Gandhi had to deal with in trying to work out the permutation and combination of the promised revamp. But clearly, it has proved to be a daunting task.
The duo was forced to retain even non-performing assets in the government, partly because of coalition compulsions and partly because of the party’s political compulsions.