Singh: Tricky task?
New Delhi, Jan. 22: The Union cabinet is likely to be shuffled by the end of this month, official sources said today.
The Congress core committee met this morning at the Prime Ministers residence to discuss changes in the cabinet and the organisation, party sources said.
DMK chief M. Karunanidhi has already told Manmohan Singh he would like his daughter and first-time Rajya Sabha MP, Kanimozhi, to be inducted.
She may be given the environment and forest ministry, which Singh has kept since DMK minister A. Raja was moved to the communications and IT ministry following Dayanidhi Marans resignation.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad would like Raghunath Jha to be taken in as a minister of state. Jha, a Brahmin, is among the disgruntled elements in the party. Lalu Prasad is also keen to do a caste balancing act through his induction.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shibu Soren is waiting to reclaim his coal ministry.
The tricky areas in the shuffle concern the Congress and are linked to long-pending organisational changes such as appointing chiefs in state units that are headless or led by ineffective presidents.
Suresh Pachauri, the junior personnel and parliamentary affairs minister, has apparently been shortlisted to head the Madhya Pradesh Congress. His backroom management and conflict resolution skills could be put to good use in the faction-riven unit, sources said.
A Rajya Sabha MP, however, said Pachauri was disinclined to leave the government.
He knows the situation is dicey in Madhya Pradesh. Moreover, he virtually runs the Rajya Sabha and, with his floor management, has bailed the government out of difficult situations. With the budget session due in a month, I wonder if Pachauri can be shifted to the state, the MP said.
The case is somewhat similar to that of Priya Ranjan Das Munshi. It has more or less been decided that he will head the Bengal Congress, which means Das Munshi would have to give up either the I&B portfolio or parliamentary affairs. Sources said Das Munshi would probably have to give up the first.
Maharashtra governor S.M. Krishna has also been straining at the leash to get back into politics. The buzz is he would like to play a role in Karnataka, which goes to the polls this year.
Krishna fuelled speculation when he called on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday night with a huge bouquet.
But his detractors in Karnataka, who hold important positions in the Congress, clarified that he had gone to invite Sonia to inaugurate a chair being instituted in Rajiv Gandhis name at Bombay University.
As the governor, Krishna is also the universitys chancellor. Nothing more should be read in the visit, an official said.