Defiant Jena still says ‘no’ to MoS post

May 30th, 2009 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Orissa Congress MP Srikant Jena said Saturday he was in talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following his refusal to take up the post of a minister of state — having been a cabinet minister earlier.
Jena has not assumed charge in the chemicals and fertilizers ministry though he took the oath of office and secrecy as a minister Thursday, said party and official sources.

Jena told IANS that he was talking to the prime minister and “the top Congress leadership” — an euphemism for party chief Sonia Gandhi and her aides.

According to sources close to Jena, he has told the prime minister that it would be impossible for him to be a minister of state since he was a cabinet minister earlier.

But Jena is willing to work as minister of state with independent charge, the sources added.

DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Azhagiri, a first time MP, is the minister for chemicals and fertilizers.

Jena, who joined the Congress in 1999, is the only party MP from Orissa to be inducted into council of ministers. The Congress has six Lok Sabha MPs from Orissa, up from two in the previous Lok Sabha.

Jena represents Balasore constituency.

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