Crisis over, DMK gets Shipping, Revenue

PTI | ByVinod Sharma, New Delhi
May 29, 2004 05:45 PM IST

The storm over the DMK?s refusal to join the Govt blew over on Tuesday with the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti?s Chandrashekhar Rao giving up the shipping portfolio to get Karunanidhi?s party on board. Portfolios | New Cabinet

Balance of power

DMK demands met T.R. Baalu, road transport and highways minister: Given additional charge of shipping

S.S. Palanimanikkam, MoS for commerce and industry: Now MoS, finance
Vacancy filler
E.V.K. Elangovan (Congress), MoS for petroleum and natural gas: Now MoS, commerce and industry
Correcting oversight
Taslimuddin, RJD, MoS for heavy industries: Now MoS, agriculture, food and civil supplies, consumer affairs and public distribution
Sole sacrifice
K. Chandrashekhar Rao, TRS: Gave up shipping. Now minister without portfolio
New Speaker
The CPI(M) finally accepted the Congress’ offer of Lok Sabha Speakership for Somnath Chatterjee

The storm over the DMK’s refusal to join the government blew over on Tuesday with the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti’s Chandrashekhar Rao giving up the shipping portfolio to get M. Karunanidhi’s party on board. All the seven ministers of the Congress’ southern ally will take charge on Wednesday.

The DMK expressed satisfaction over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurance that the portfolios it had requested for its nominees would be allotted. “I am fully satisfied... we’re not even pressing for the Personnel Department for our MoS in Home, since that is a minor thing which can be sorted out later,” said Karunanidhi.

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Rao made his offer at a Monday night meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The TRS leader reportedly told the Congress president that he wasn’t interested in any portfolio: “I want the central government to run smoothly to help me achieve the goal of a separate Telangana state.”

The impasse was broken at a meeting thereafter between Sonia and the DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran. T.R. Baalu was offered shipping with Cabinet rank, and an MoS slot in the Finance Ministry was opened for his party colleague S.S. Palanimanikkam.

The deal was formalised on Tuesday morning when Rao and Maran separately called on Manmohan Singh. The agreed changes were later announced in a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique.

With Rao as Cabinet minister without portfolio, Baalu has got shipping in addition to Transport and Highways and Palanimanikkam has been made MoS, Finance. His Commerce and Industry portfolio has been allotted to the Congress’ Tamil Nadu leader E.V.K. Elangovan, who gives up charge as MoS, Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Likewise, the RJD’s Taslimuddin has been made MoS, Agriculture, Food and Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution under the NCP’s Sharad Pawar. This takes care of the problem in the Ministry of Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises, where the Congress’s Santosh Mohan Deb held Independent charge and was reluctant to countenance an MoS working under him.

It appears that Taslimuddin was named MoS under Deb on account of an oversight. The confusion was eventually cleared by the presidential notification.

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