Cabinet re-jig: Permutations and possibilities
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amid speculation that a reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers is on the cards later this week.
Gandhi met Singh at his residence in New Delhi. She was accompanied by her political secretary Ahmed Patel. The meeting comes a day after the Prime Minister met President Pratibha Patil.
Though it was described as a routine meeting, there were indications that a re-jig of the United Progressive Alliance ministry was possible later this week.
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Image: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a function in New Delhi
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
Pawar desires to shed some burden
Sources said that Singh may utilise the opportunity to inject fresh blood into the Cabinet. Ministers like Sharad Pawar and Kapil Sibal are holding more than one portfolio and are likely to shed some of them.
Pawar, who holds Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs Ministries, has earlier expressed his intention to shed some of his burden.
Image: Sharad Pawar
Photographs: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Reuters
Sibal wants to retain HRD portfolio
Similarly, Sibal who has the charge of Human Resources and Development, Telecom and Science and Technology, may shed Science and Technology.
He is said to be passionate about retaining HRD in which he has initiated certain reforms and would like to pursue them.
He is unlikely to be disturbed from Telecom which was given to him after Raja's resignation in the wake of 2G spectrum allocation scam.
Image: Kapil Sibal
Photographs: Pascal Lauener/Reuters
Post-exit vacuum needs to be filled
There are some vacancies including that created by the resignation of A Raja, Prithviraj Chavan and Shashi Tharoor.
The feeling in the Congress was that major portfolios like Finance, Home, Defence and External Affairs may not be disturbed in the proposed exercise which is mainly aimed at filling up the vacancies.
Image: Shashi Tharoor
Deshmukh, Joshi may be drafted for party work
Union Ministers C P Joshi (Rural Development) and Vilasrao Deshmukh (Heavy Industry) may be drafted for party work.
Meanwhile, Sudip Bandhopadhyay, a Trinamool Congress leader, may get a berth as a representative of the largest constituent after Congress in the UPA.
There has been no representation to three states in the Union ministry -- Chhattisgarh, Goa and Manipur.
Gandhi had detailed deliberations with Singh more than twice in the last week, apparently to plan out the exercise, which would be the first after the UPA-II came to power in May 2009.
Image: Vilasrao Deshmukh
Photographs: Rediff archives