Minister Jairam Ramesh quits to focus on poll strategy (Lead)

February 25th, 2009 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Commerce, Industry and Power Jairam Ramesh resigned from the council of ministers Wednesday to concentrate on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Ramesh, who is a Rajya Sabha member from the Congress, told IANS: “Yes, I have resigned as a minister.”

Asked about the reasons, he said: “To concentrate on campaigning yaar (friend).”

Ramesh added: “I have resigned with the full consent to serve my party to help in the ensuing elections. This is what I did in 2004 also.”

He is among the key election strategists of the Congress and was a member of the party’s thinktank when it won the 2004 elections.

To a question if he was asked to resign, Ramesh retorted: “This is all rubbish. I am going back to the role which I played during the last elections.”

A member of the National Advisory Council chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi, Ramesh also helped rustle up the common minimum programme for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) when it came to power in May 2004.

A graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the 1954-born Congress leader has played pivotal roles in the government as well.

Besides being an adviser to the finance minister from 1996 to 1998, he was adviser to then prime minister P.V Narasimha Rao in 1991 whose government ushered in major economic reforms in the country. The present prime minister, Manmohan Singh, was then the finance minister.

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