Manmohan forms new Team to run India, Kamat quits (Roundup)July 12th, 2011 - 11:07 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday inducted eight new faces into his government, axed seven ministers and juggled some portfolios in a bid to improve the image of his Congress-led government, but most analysts dismissed the changes as cosmetic.
The much-expected exercise was, however, marred by the resignation of Congress veteran Gurudas Kamat, who said he wanted to leave the ministry for “personal reasons”. Congress sources said he was asked to leave after it became known that he was unhappy to be made the minister of state for drinking water and sanitation — a new portfolio.
“As far as I am concerned, this is the last reshuffle before we go to the polls (in 2014),” Manmohan Singh later told reporters at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. “This exercise is as comprehensive as possible.”
The prime minister added he had repeatedly asked Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to join the government “but he feels he has more to contribute to the organisation”.
The reshuffle, the second since January, left the ‘big four’ — Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Home Minister P. Chidambaram - untouched.
The 78-member council of ministers includes 62 from the Congress and 16 from allies in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
Of the 13 ministries that deal with India’s economy, changes took place only in three - steel and mines, corporate affairs, and railways, India’s biggest employer.
Among the major changes, Salman Khursheed took over the law ministry from M. Veerappa Moily, who moved to corporate affairs; Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress heads the railways; while Jayanthi Natarajan, the only Congress woman MP from Tamil Nadu, is the new environment minister.
She replaced the hyperactive Jairam Ramesh who was elevated as a cabinet minister in the ministry of rural development.
“Consideration of efficiency, of continuity and all elements were taken into account,” Manmohan Singh said of the changes made in his government.
He underlined that Jairam Ramesh had been rewarded for good work.
Besides Natarajan, the other new faces are V. Kishore Chandra Deo, Sudip Bandopadhyaya, Milind Deora, Jitendra Singh, Rajiv Shuila, Paban Singh Ghatowar and Charan Das Mahant.
Among those asked to go were DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran, who put in his papers earlier after being linked to the spectrum scandal, and M.S. Gill, the sports minister when India hosted the corruption-hit Commonwealth Games.
One of the seven dropped ministers, Arun Yadav, got a place in the Congress party machinery.
Deo, from Andhra Pradesh, has been put in charge of tribal affairs and Panchayati Raj. Beni Prasad Verma of Uttar Pradesh is the cabinet minister in charge of steel ministry.
N. Bhaskar Rao, analyst at the Centre for Media Studies, echoed popular sentiment that there was nothing to cheer about.
“Some new talent has come in,” Rao told IANS. “But there is nothing else to say except that the environment ministry, which was being headed by a person who had been causing heartburn to many industries and their investors, has been shifted. Other than that there is no major change.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party called the reshuffle “damp squib”.
Bandopadhyaya of the Trinamool, the largest Congress ally in the government, made his debut as minister of state for health and family welfare.
But his party colleague Mukul Roy was relieved as minister of state for railways, a day after after he ignored Manmohan Singh’s directive to visit the site of a train derailment in Assam.
He remains the junior minister in the shipping ministry.
With both Maran and A. Raja, who is in prison, out of the ministry, the DMK — the second biggest ally in UPA — has only four faces in the government. Manmohan Singh said two ministerial slots were vacant for the DMK, a clear sign that the Congress-DMK alliance would stay put.
E. Ahamed of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which is pivotal to the survival of the Congress government in Kerala, is back as minister of state for external affairs and got the human resource development (HRD).
The primary charge of the HRD ministry remains with Kapil Sibal, who also holds the communications and IT portfolio.
In a father-son swap, Congress leader Murli Deora went out of the cabinet. His son Milind is in, as the minister of state for communications and IT.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was shifted to the science and technology and earth sciences ministry.
Assam’s Ghatowar will be minister of state with independent charge (Development of North Eastern Region). Other ministers of state are Mahant (agriculture and food processing); the high profile Shukla (parliamentary affairs) and Jitendra Singh (home), a close aide of Rahul Gandhi.
- Manmohan drops some, inducts some to better UPA image (Evening Lead) - Jul 12, 2011
- Something old, something new in recast Team Manmohan (Afternoon Lead) - Jul 12, 2011
- List of ministers to take oath Tuesday evening - Jul 12, 2011
- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's new team - Jul 12, 2011
- Khursheed gets law, Trivedi railways in reshuffle - Jul 12, 2011
- Cabinet reshuffle - a damp squib? (News Analysis) - Jul 12, 2011
- Ministers assume charge, list priorities (Roundup) - Jul 13, 2011
- Sonia meets PM over cabinet reshuffle (Lead) - Jul 11, 2011
- Cabinet reshuffle likely Tuesday, Big 4 to continue (Second Lead) - Jul 11, 2011
- Cabinet reshuffle likely Tuesday (Lead) - Jul 11, 2011
- PM meets Sonia, cabinet reshuffle likely next week (Second Lead) - Jul 09, 2011
- Manmohan Singh meets Sonia, cabinet reshuffle likely next week (Lead) - Jul 09, 2011
- Shuffling the deck: Highs and Lows - Jul 12, 2011
- Cabinet reshuffle could take place soon - Sep 20, 2012
- Manmohan Singh discusses Cabinet reshuffle with Sonia Gandhi - Jan 18, 2011
Tags: development consideration, economy changes, external affairs minister, gurudas kamat, jairam ramesh, jayanthi, jayanthi natarajan, law ministry, manmohan singh, ministry of rural development, new faces, pranab mukherjee, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, progressive alliance, rahul gandhi, rashtrapati bhavan, trinamool congress, veerappa, woman mp