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Cabinet reshuffle buzz gets stronger

By Sanjay Jog
September 16, 2012 13:40 IST
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Congress party circles are talking about a major Cabinet reshuffle on September 18. Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Public Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad and Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik are said to be tipped for party organisational work, while party spokesman Janardan Dwivedi and his junior Manish Tiwari are likely to be included in the Union Cabinet. Minister for Shipping GK Wasan, son of party stalwart late GK Moopnar, may be divested of his current portfolio.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who has clarified that he is not shifting to New Delhi, is the party high command's choice for the ministries of power or petroleum and natural gas.

There are three front-runners as Chavan's successors. They include former minister Narayan Rane, former Union minister of state for new and renewable energy Vilas Muttemwar and former Union minister of state Gurudas Kamat.

Moreover, party Member of Parliament from Beharampur Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury may be inducted in the Cabinet. Chowdhury is known for his proximity with former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy may be appointed as Andhra Pradesh chief minister in a bid to keep the party's flock together, especially in the wake of challenges posed by Jagan Reddy, son of former chief minister late YSR Reddy.

In such a scenario, present incumbent N Kiran Kumar Reddy to be rehabilitated at the Centre.

Further, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who is currently holding additional charge of textiles, would be unburdened of the latter. DMK leader TR Balu may be new textiles minister. Dravida Munettra Kazhagam had held the textile ministry until Dayanidhi Maran resigned in the wake of 2G scam.

Another DMK MP TKS Elangovan, who is elected from Chennai North Lok Sabha constituency, is expected to be inducted in the council of ministers. 

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's close confidants Jyotiraditya Scindia and Jitin Prasad are expected to be made ministers of state with independent charge.

Besides, party leader and the Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Harish Rawat, who had staged a rebellion after the appointment of Vijay Bahuguna as Uttarakhand chief minister, is expected to get Independent charge. 

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Sanjay Jog