New Delhi, Sept. 18: NCP president Sharad Pawar has decided to drop Agatha Sangma from the Manmohan Singh government and recommend senior leader Tariq Anwar for induction into the ministry from the party’s quota.
Agatha’s exit script was written by none other than her father P.A. Sangma who revolted against Pawar to contest the presidential election against UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee. Though his ambitious political foray could have been forgiven, he invited the UPA leadership’s wrath by making uncharitable remarks after his defeat. The NCP had indicated then that his daughter would lose her job as minister of state for rural development in the next reshuffle.
Confirming the development, Congress sources said the only problem was Anwar’s seniority, which made his accommodation as a minister of state difficult. The NCP has only nine Lok Sabha MPs and it has already been given two cabinet ranks. Pawar is the agriculture minister and Praful Patel the minister for heavy industries. There was speculation about Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule being made a minister but Anwar’s steadfast loyalty to Pawar and seniority could not be ignored.
The Congress has also indicated its preference for Anwar as there is no minister in the UPA government from Bihar. Anwar, who lost the Lok Sabha election from his home constituency of Katihar, has been an important player in Bihar politics and the ministerial berth to him can help the UPA to some extent.