Some disappointed, others excited after reshuffle

April 7th, 2008 - 4:56 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) At the end of yet another much-awaited ministerial reorganisation, eager hopefuls in the Congress party expecting a berth in the cabinet were left out in the cold. But some are more than happy. If Sachin Pilot, the young MP from Dausa in Rajasthan, was cut up after being excluded from the ministry, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi is all smiles over the additional charge of parliamentary affairs given to him.

According to Congress sources, Pilot, son of late Congress veteran Rajesh Pilot, was dropped due to opposition from the Rajasthan state unit. Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the Gujjar community leader’s induction would upset the more influential Meena community.

Gehlot also reportedly warned that antagonizing the Meenas ahead of assembly elections this year would damage the party’s prospects. Pilot has been a strong advocate of the Gujjars’ demand for Scheduled Tribe status to better their employment and educational opportunities. But he put up a brave face Monday: “I welcome the changes in the government. We will work together to ensure a win in the elections.”

For Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, it was family dynamics that spoilt her chances of getting a berth.

DMK leaders claim the 40-year-old Rajya Sabha MP turned down offer from the prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi because she “is still student in politics”. But Congress leaders say that Karunanidhi, already under fire for promoting “dynasty politics”, did not want to draw more flak. Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Stalin is a cabinet minister in the state government.

Naveen Jindal, the young MP from Haryana’s Kurukshetra, seems to be another dejected Young Turk after failing to make it to the ministry. Jindal, whose family is known for its unflinching loyalty to the Congress, was hoping to be a minister ever since Manmohan Singh’s government took charge in May 2004.

Even among the victors there were sighs of disappointment.

Political sources say that Jyotiraditya Scindia’s induction as a minister of state for IT left him somewhat cold. Scindia apparently had earlier refused to be a junior minister but took up the post after coaxing from Sonia Gandhi.

Scindia’s friends say he was expecting the independent charge of sports and youth affairs. That portfolio went to former chief election commissioner M.S. Gill.

Jitin Prasada, the youngest in the government, is definitely upbeat after being made a minister.

“It gives me a great sense of pride and honour. I am humbled by my leader Sonia Gandhi who has entrusted such faith and trust in me,” Prasada told IANS.

“I will try to live up to the expectations of my party leadership and the party and the aspirations of the people, especially in Uttar Pradesh. Under the guidance of youth leader Rahul Gandhi, I will try to galvanise and empower the youngsters in this country,” said the MP from Shajahanpur.

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