Reshuffle in Union Council of Ministers after Jan 14?

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) The much talked-about reshuffleof the Union Council of Ministers could take place anytimeafter January 14 amid indications that the exercise was stillbeing given final touches.

The talk in Congress circles is that while the partywants the reshuffle in the government to be a major exercise,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appears to be in favour of itbeing a limited affair.

Talks have it that Kapil Sibal could retain his newcharge of Telecom where he was brought in over a month backfollowing the resignation of A Raja in the wake of the 2GSpectrum scam.

Sibal is holding charge of HRD Ministry as also Scienceand Technology. The latter was given to him after PrithvirajChavan was made Maharashtra Chief Minister. Party generalsecretary Janardan Dwivedi''s name is doing the rounds for theHRD ministry.

The DMK appears to be making a pitch for an additionalministerial berth in wake of Raja''s exit but Congress circlesare doubtful whether it would be conceded to, given the factthat the ally would not be able to mount much pressure in viewof the scam.

The names of Union Ministers Ambika Soni, VilasraoDeshmukh and Gurudas Kamat are doing the rounds for partywork.

The buzz is that Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, whois a Minister of State (Independent charge) could be elevatedto Cabinet rank.

The occasion could also be used to fill the slot vacatedby the Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor,who quit last year in wake of the IPL Kochi ownershipcontroversy.

The names of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman MontekSingh Ahluwalia and UIDIA chief Nandan Nilekani are also doingthe rounds for inclusion in the government.

Congress sources, however, say that since there werehardly any vacancy in the Rajya Sabha, it would be a difficulttask to bring in non-MPs as ministers.

A reshuffle of the AICC secretariat as alsoreconstitution of the Congress Working Committee is pendingfor long and party chief Sonia Gandhi is expected to use theopportunity for inductions in the party.

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