Sunday, September 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Six new faces in ministry
*Sharad, Paswan lose charge to BJP ministers
*Shourie, Shahnawaz elevated

Tribune News Service

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with Cabinet ministers.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with Cabinet ministers L. K. Advani and Jagmohan at the swearing-in ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, on Saturday. — PTI photo

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj having a word with Union HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj having a word with Union HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi at the swearing-in ceremony of ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI photo

New Delhi, September 1
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today inducted two new Cabinet ministers, elevated two Ministers of State to Cabinet rank, inducted four new Ministers of State, dropped as many Ministers of State and effected wide-ranging changes in portfolios in a major reshuffle-cum-expansion in which he has kept the key ministries including that of finance untouched.

Mr Ved Prakash Goyal (BJP treasurer from Mumbai) and Mr Karia Munda (tribal leader from Jharkhand) were the new Cabinet ministers, while hitherto Ministers of State Arun Shourie and Mr Shahnawaz Hussain were promoted to Cabinet rank.

Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, Mr Vijay Goel and Mr Anna Sahib Patil were sworn in as Ministers of State. Mr Ashok Pradhan, a Scheduled Caste Dalit leader from UP, whom the Prime Minister wanted to induct in his council of ministers, could not take oath as he is away in South Africa. Mr Pradhan is likely to be sworn in tomorrow, despite the fact that the fortnight-long ‘pitra paksha’, considered inauspicious, is beginning tomorrow.

Four Ministers of State got the boot whose resignations were accepted by President K. R. Narayanan late Saturday evening on the advice of the Prime Minister. The four sacked ministers are Mr Devendra Pradhan, Mr Chauba Singh (both Agriculture), Mr Shriram Chauhan (Consumer Affairs) and Mr Jai Singh Gaekwad (Mines).

The resignation of Mr Sunder Lal Patwa, who had quit as cabinet minister on health grounds yesterday, has also been accepted.

Mr Vajpayee also used this opportunity to make sweeping changes in the portfolios of his Council of Ministers. The most striking aspect of change in portfolios was that two important infrastructural ministries of Communications and Civil Aviation which hitherto were with BJP allies Ram Vilas Paswan and Sharad Yadav, respectively, were taken away from them and given to BJP ministers.

Another significant change in the portfolios was that of Urban Development Minister Jagmohan who had been in the eye of the storm due to his style of functioning not only from the Opposition but also from within the BJP Delhi triumvirate of Mr Madan Lal Khurana, Mr Sahib Singh Verma and Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra.

Mr Jagmohan has been shifted to the Ministry of Tourism and Programme Implementation. With this move, Mr Vajpayee has sought to assuage the hurt feelings of the two former Delhi chief ministers and ministerial-aspirants — Mr Khurana and Mr Verma. By giving the key portfolio of Communications to the Prime Minister’s trusted man, Mr Pramod Mahajan, and by changing portfolios of Mr Paswan and Mr Sharad Yadav, the Prime Minister has sent a loud and clear message that the economic reform work would have to go on at quick pace.

Cabinet Minister Satya Narain Jatiya, whose head was on the chopping block, is understood to have been spared because Mr Sunderlal Patwa had already resigned and the government could not afford to drop two ministers from Madhya Pradesh which even otherwise is not very well represented in the council of ministers. Mr Jatiya’s portfolio, however, has been changed from Labour to Social Justice and Empowerment.

Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie has been promoted to the full cabinet rank because of his good work while Coal Minister Shahnawaz Hussain has been elevated with an eye on UP elections as he is the only Muslim minister in Mr Vajpayee’s Cabinet. Besides, at the age of 32 years and eight months, Mr Hussain is also the youngest-ever Cabinet minister of India.

The reshuffle was confined to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in preparation for the crucial UP Assembly elections. In undertaking this exercise, the Prime Minister has consciously kept the BJP’s allies, especially the Trinamool Congress and PMK which recently rejoined the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), out of it.

This is the sixth time in the present tenure of Prime Minister Vajpayee that he has effected a reshuffle in his ministry. He reshuffled first on November 22, 1999 and then on May 27, September 30 and November 7 last year and on July 22 this year.

The following is the list of ministers sworn in at the 20-minute swearing in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan this evening:

Cabinet: Arun Shourie and Shahnawaz Hussain (promoted), Ved Prakash Goel and Karia Munda (new inductions).

Ministers of State: Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Vijay Goel and Anna Sahib Patil.Back


Entry of Trinamool in ministry not yet: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 1
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee ruled out the immediate re-entry of Trinamool Congress and PMK into Union Council of Ministers and said today’s Cabinet expansion exercise was carried out after taking into account “all factors”.

“Today’s expansion is limited to the BJP only. Whenever the question of inclusion of NDA allies arises, it will be considered then. There is no such proposal now,” Mr Vajpayee told newspersons at Rashtrapati Bhavan after the swearing in of eight new ministers.

Mr Vajpayee was replying to a question whether any plans were afoot to take back Trinamool Congress and PMK, which were re-admitted into the NDA last month.

Mr Vajpayee further said, “There is no new message to them (Trinamool and PMK). They have rejoined the NDA.”

This announcement of the Prime Minister will please the BJP hardliners, who were especially annoyed over the manner in which the Trinamool Congress was given re-entry into the NDA fold without its chief Mamata Banerjee apologising for leaving the alliance just before the West Bengal Assembly poll.

Asked about reports that there would be “sweeping changes” in key economic ministries, Mr Vajpayee smiled and said “Yes. I also heard a lot about it. But nothing came out of it.”

He said several vacancies were there which had to be filled. “We also saw the results and performance of various ministers.” Asked what message he was giving through the expansion, he said, “Young newcomers have been given responsibilities.”

Mr Vajpayee parried a question on who the Centre was talking to in connection with the Ayodhya issue saying, “I did not tell Parliament and you want me to tell you.” 


President does not take customary tea
Tribune News Service

President K. R. Narayana and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with newly inducted ministers.
President K. R. Narayanan and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with newly inducted ministers Syed Shahanawaz Hussain (third from left), Vijay Goel (extreme left) and Rajiv Pratap Rudy after the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday. 
— PTI photo

New Delhi, September 1
Despite all rumours floating about President K. R. Narayanan’s ill health, the First Citizen appeared to have recovered well. He did not find any difficulty in standing up while administering the oath of office and secrecy to the ministerialists. In fact, after each of the eight members had taken oath, Mr Narayanan exchanged pleasantries with them.

Mr Narayanan also posed for photographs after the oath-taking ceremony.

However, Mr Narayanan excused himself from the customary tea and snacks and returned to his chambers as he has been advised rest for a fortnight but only after bidding adieu to Vice-President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his Cabinet colleagues and the new entrants to the Union Government as well as a host of others.


Considering the fortnight-long inauspicious period starting from tomorrow, the Prime Minister had taken adequate care to finalise the portfolios of the new ministers and keep them posted so that the superstitious among them can assume office later this evening itself.

There was also feverish activity in all the ministries and departments where these new worthies are to be seated with the attendant paraphernalia.

Most of the new ministerialists came with their immediate family members and close friends and quite a few of them had rushed down from their respective home states.

There were innumerable other aspirants in the BJP who were crestfallen as the critical telephone call from the Prime Minister’s Office failed to materialise. Among them was former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma who made a quick exit after the swearing-in ceremony.


Tribal leader from Jharkhand Karia Munda finally got his due after patiently waiting in the sidelines for more than a year. Mr Munda, a veteran parliamentarian and a nine-time member of the Lok Sabha, was selected by the Prime Minister as a minister of state in the first instance. Expressing resentment at being given the rank of Minister of State, he ducked the swearing-in ceremony.

Subsequently, he also lost the race for the chief ministership of Jharkhand. Thereafter, Mr Munda continued to maintained a low profile without hurting the susceptibilities of the BJP leadership.

He has now been inducted as a Cabinet minister.


Amazing as it might seem, the Opposition went virtually unrepresented at the swearing-in ceremony. Usually, protocol demands that at least one leader from each of the major opposition parties and groups attend the swearing-in ceremony probably because it was an all BJP affair.

There was also hardly any representation from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and S Ramdoss’ PMK. Ms Banerjee and Dr Ramdoss were cooling their heels in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, respectively.Back


Rudy was PU student

Patna, September 1
Better known for his elocution skills in the Lok Sabha, newly inducted minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy has had reasonably good political innings despite his relatively young age.

Born in 1962 at Amnaur village in Saran district, Mr Rudy, who is a topper in MA (economics) from Chandigarh Panjab University as also a law graduate, was elected to the Bihar Assembly from Taraiya on the Janata Dal ticket in 1990.

He shifted his loyalties to the Samata Party in 1995 to join the BJP the following year. He was a member of the eleventh Lok Sabha also and represented the Chapra constituency in 1999.

A lecturer at the local A.N. College, Mr Rudy served as national Vice-President of the BJP Yuva Morcha from 1998 to 1999. UNI


CPM suspends MP for going to PM’s dinner
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 1
The CPI (M) today suspended Mr Bratin Sengupta, MP, from the party’s Parliamentary group for a period of six months for violating party discipline by attending a dinner hosted at Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s residence.

“Mr Sengupta committed a serious mistake and has accepted he violated the discipline of the party,” Leader of CPI (M) group in the Rajya Sabha S. Ramachandran Pillai said in a press note here.

“The recent behaviour of Mr Bratin Sengupta has not been in conformity with the norms expected from a representative of the CPI (M),” he said, adding it had been decided that Mr Sengupta be suspended from the parliamentary group with effect from today.

Taking note of the controversy generated by Mr Sengupta’s presence at a dinner hosted for coalition MPs by the Prime Minister at his residence on Tuesday, Mr Pillai said “the Politburo had decided to inquire into the matter of Bratin Sengupta attending the dinner hosted for NDA MPs at the Prime Minister’s residence.”

“The Politburo will take necessary action after the inquiry,” Mr Pillai added.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |