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Hopes up on eve of Cabinet reshuffle
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi |
May 23, 2003 21:21 IST
With Minister of State for Finance Gingee Ramachandran and Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh resigning late on Friday night from the Union Council of Ministers, hopes soared among those aiming for a place in the ministry.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is likely to reshuffle his council of ministers on Saturday.
While a bribery scandal involving his personal assistant forced Ramachandran to quit, Ajit Singh probably saw the writing on the wall. He was widely believed to be among those on the chopping block.
On Friday, the most anxious were the Trinamool Congress supporters. And this despite party chief Mamata Banerjee's re-induction into Vajpayee's team almost a certainty.
A Trinamool leader told rediff.com: "There is the proverbial slip between the cup and the lip. We will believe when it happens."
There were hopefuls in the Bharatiya Janata Party too, like Minister of State for Coal Karia Munda, who is looking for a promotion, party spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Uttar Pradesh strongman Rajnath Singh.
Some BJP leaders were even lobbying with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh bigwigs.
The current strength of the Union Council of Ministers is 77 and as per a recent Cabinet decision it should not exceed 10 per cent of the strength of the bicameral legislature.
The arrival of Bahujan Samaj Party leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in New Delhi on Friday, meanwhile, fuelled speculation that she might lobby for a seat for one of her party members.