Vinod Anand | 10 Aug 2013

RAHUL STAYS OUT (Vinod Anand) As was expected, Rahul Gandhi did not join the Government in the major reshuffle that took place on Sunday (28the October 2012) The Prime Minister says that Rahul has opted for party work. However, the reshuffle, in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inducted 22 ministers including seven of cabinet rank and 15 ministers of state with two holding independent charge, did show that Rahul’s men were very much there. It is a good blending of youth and experience. New ministers will now be managing crucial portfolios such as foreign affairs, petroleum, power and mining An effort has also been made to enable the Congress to retrieve a dire situation in Andhra, the elect orally crucial state, which contributed 33 MPs to the Congress tally of 206 in 2009Jt is through them and others inducted that the Congress hopes to improve its image and produce a good record that would enable the party to boldly face the electorate in the Look Saba elections scheduled for 2014. Dr Singh has stressed that the UPA Government will complete its full term’ The notable changes include the elevation of Selman Churched as Minister of External affairs which may be regarded as a big rebuff to Aerial who has been demanding his ouster. Then the veteran politician from Andhra Pradesh, Japan Reddy has been stripped of Oil portfolio and shifted to low-profile Science and Technology Ministry. He; appeared to be somewhat out of tune with the campaign started by Dr Singh and P.Chidambaram(Finance Minister) from the middle of September to boost the faltering economy by clearing investment proposals and initiating big-ticket reforms. His successor, Veerappa Molly, is expected to adopt a more cooperative and pragmatic approach. Kapil Sibal, another high-profile minister, has been divested of the Human Resource Development Ministry as it is believed that his sharp exchanges with the Opposition have seen the stalling of as many as 11 key education legislations. He will now look after just the telecom department. The reshuffle also saw the ascendancy of two ministers - Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashant Kumar. Interestingly enough, Bansal, hitherto regarded as lightweight, will manage railways, previously held by powerful politicians. And Ashwani, who is believed to be close to the Prime Minister, will now be the law minister. If Sangma’s daughter has been dropped, the reasons are too obvious to be discussed. But the good representation given to West Bengal indicates that the State has retained its importance. UP was kept out. Madhya Pradesh was ignored, which has irked Digvijai. But the State is already well represented. Ajay Maken has been put in charge of the housing and urban development ministry. As he a counterweight to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the Capital’s politics, this step was necessary to maintain a balance. Anna Hazare and the BJP have belittled the changes saying that these will not succeed in bringing about any improvement. But let us not pre-judge their performance and give them a chance to show their mettle.