UP, Kerala gain in reshuffle of Union Ministry

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New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh stole the limelightwhile several states including poll-bound Tamil Nadu and WestBengal remained out of focus in the just carried out reshuffleof the Union Ministry.

As the Congress focus is on ''Mission 2012'' in UP whereassembly polls are due next year, it went the extra mile forelevating Salman Khurshid and Shriprakash Jaiswal to theCabinet rank.

Besides, it brought in backward leader Beni Prasad Vermaas a Minister of State with Independent charge of the SteelMinistry and retained three junior ministers Jitin Prasad,Pradip Jain Aditya and R P N Singh.

The number of representatives from Uttar Pradesh in theministry has increased from five to six. Congress has 22members in the Lok Sabha from UP.

As against this, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal drew a blankdespite the fact that A Raja of DMK had lost his job as theTelecom Minister ahead of the winter session of Parliamentsome two months back.

Congress appeared to be in no mood to accommodate anyonefrom DMK in place of Raja with sources in the ruling partyindicating that Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was also in noposition to press the issue against the backdrop of the 2Gspectrum scam and its effect on poll-bound Tamil Nadu.

Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress might have hadher reasons for not having an additional representative in theUnion Ministry in spite of the fact that the name of SudipBandhoyapdhay was doing the rounds for long.

There has not been a representative of Chhattisgarh, Goa,Manipur and Bihar in the ministry.

Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy, who hails from Telanganaregion of Andhra Pradesh, got the key ministry of Petroleumand Natural gas but Minister of state for Environment andForests Jairam Ramesh also elected from the same state to theRajya Sabha failed to get elevation despite being the mosttalked about minister.

Andhra Pradesh, which has 32 Congress members of the LokSabha, the largest from any state, had to remain content withone cabinet ministership in Jaipal Reddy.

Poll-bound Kerala, where Congress-led UDF is making adetermined bid to come to power, was well looked after in thereshuffle exercise.

A new face K C Venugopal, belonging to the powerful Naircommunity, was inducted as MoS while Overseas Affairs MinisterVayalar Ravi got additional charge of the key Civil Aviationportfolio.

K V Thomas, also from Kerala, has been elevated to MoS(Independent charge) and given the key ministry of ConsumerAffairs, Food and Public Distribution, at a time when thegovernment as well Congress appear keen to rein in foodgrainprices as spiralling prices could hit the party inelection-bound states.

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