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Why PM postponed the Cabinet reshuffle

July 11, 2011 09:41 IST

The much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle due on Monday has been postponed, ostensibly after the Kalka Mail and Guwahati-Puri Express derailed on the same day, claiming more than 30 lives.

The Congress is anxious about not sending a wrong signal in Uttar Pradesh, which is going to polls next year.

Government sources said that as the prime minister was also in charge of the railway ministry, he was too busy overseeing relief to this crucial state.

Kalka Mail runs through central and Eastern UP and was packed with migrant labour, as well as holiday makers on their way from Shimla to Howrah.

Although Congress sources said the list of ministers involved in the reshuffle was ready, and allies including Trinamool Congress had already been sounded by the PM about their nominees, some fine-tuning was required in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam list.

The government was also battling the crisis arising out of the resignation of Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who resigned on Sunday and without waiting to find out if his resignation had been accepted or not, called on President Pratibha Patil in a departure from protocol.

The reasons cited by Subramanium -- that 'outside' lawyers had been called in to fight certain cases, giving rise to a possible controversy about the nature of these 'special' cases -- had the potential to damage the government both politically and in the Supreme Court. Fighting this problem is a bigger priority than a reshuffle.

Also, Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political advisor Ahmad Patel, who is a crucial element in the reshuffle exercise, had to leave for Gujarat to file his papers for the Rajya Sabha seat. Now, the reshuffle might take place on Tuesday, or later.