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Gujarat, Andhra key factors in Cabinet reshuffle

Source: ANI
October 28, 2012 10:22 IST
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A reshuffle of the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan at 11.30 am before Dr Singh leaves for Himachal Pradesh to address a poll rally.

The swearing-in ceremony is likely to see a number of new faces getting inducted into the Cabinet. The reshuffle has been necessitated with six ministers of the Trinamool Congress quitting the United Progressive Alliance and the government last month.

Ministers belonging to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of Tamil Nadu had also left the Cabinet, though the party continues to offer outside support to the UPA.

With President Pranab Mukherjee accepting the resignations of seven Cabinet ministers late on Saturday evening, the reshuffle is expected to see the induction of at least 12 ministers, most of them being younger in age. There will be a conscious effort to ensure that Cabinet has a younger profile. The ministers who have resigned include SM Krishna, Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, Subodh Kant Sahay, Mahadev Khandela, Vincent Pala and Agatha Sangma.

The reshuffle is likely to show Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's growing involvement in party and government affairs.

According to sources, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath are likely to be shifted from their present portfolios. Elevation in rank and status are also expected for Ajay Maken, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and D Purandeshwari.

Former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor is likely to be reinducted after more than a year.

The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party has forwarded the name of its general secretary Tariq Anwar for inclusion as the sole representative from Bihar in the government, and as a replacement for Sangma.

Kamal Nath is expected to be given additional charge of the ministry of parliamentary affairs, while Khurshid is also emerging as a strong contender for the ministry of external affairs.

Former deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, K Rahman Khan is expected to take over the minority affairs ministry. Maken's expected elevation is being seen a move to balance the factional political dynamics in Delhi.

There could be more representations from Andhra Pradesh, which was crucial to the UPA's consecutive wins in Lok Sabha elections. Telugu film star Chiranjeevi, who merged his Praja Rajyam Party in tge Congress, will be inducted as minister of state, possibly with the independent charge of the tourism ministry.

Besides him, four other Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh -- Sarve Satyanarayana, SP Reddy, Balram Naik and K Kruparani -- will be inducted as ministers of state.

Kapil Sibal will stay put in telecom ministry, with all indications suggesting that his original charge, HRD ministry, may go to a senior minister from the south.

The petroleum ministry may get a new head in case the choice for HRD falls on Jaipal Reddy.

CP Joshi will continue as railway minister, while Pawan Bansal may become minister for surface transport and highways.

Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat is to be given Cabinet rank as a compensation for being passed over for the chief ministership of Uttarakhand earlier this year.

Dinsha Patel was also tipped to given the Cabinet rank in his current ministry of mines in the build-up to the election in his home state of Gujarat.

KH Muniyappa, a Dalit leader from Karnataka, will be promoted and given independent charge of a ministry.

Rajiv Shukla, minister of state for parliamentary affairs, is likely to be given the responsibility of another ministry in the same rank.

Kodikunnil Suresh from Kerala, Ninong Ering of Arunachal Pradesh, PK Balmuchu from Jharkhand, AH Khan Choudhury from West Bengal are likely to take oath as ministers of state.

The exercise is expected to be a prelude to important changes in Congress organisation, amid clear indications that Rahul Gandhi may be playing a more proactive role from an elevated designation.

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Source: ANI
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