Ajay Maken quits Cabinet, to work for Cong organisation

New Delhi, June 16: Housing and Poverty Alleviation Minister Ajay Maken on Saturday quit the Union Cabinet, signalling an impending reshuffle in the council of ministers along with changes in the Congress's party organisation. Sources said one more minister may quit for party work and the ministerial reshuffle can be effected on Monday.

With the move materialising less than six months before the crucial Delhi assembly polls, Maken could emerge into a strong contender for the chief minister's post in case the Congress decides to promote a fresh face. The 49-year-old leader from New Delhi has always been an aspirant for the post and his resignation from the Cabinet may be an indicator towards the Congress's strategy in the capital.

Maken is likely to be appointed as the general secretary in the impending change in the All India Congress Committee (AICC) following the Cabinet reshuffle. The leader was earlier the Minister of State for Home Affairs and was later given the independent charge of sports and youth affairs.

Union Health Minister and general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad is also likely to be entrusted with organisational responsibility. AICC secretary Meenakshi Natarajan may also be made the general secretary and given task of the Youth Congress and NSUI.

Natarajan, an MP from Madhya Pradesh, had worked closely with Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on democratising the party's youth and student wings.

This could be the final reshuffle in the Union council of ministers and the party before the next Lok Sabha elections scheduled.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to introduce fresh faces and bring changes in the prevailing portfolios. Currently, the Union council of minister has ten vacancies, including those created following the DMK's withdrawal from the UPA government and the resignations of former railway and law ministers Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar following corruption controversies.

Earlier this week, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi met PM Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee separately. The PM also met Mukherjee.

OneIndia News

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