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Cabinet rejig: 22 ministers sworn in

NEW DELHI: Seven Cabinet ministers, including new faces such as K. Rehman Khan and Chandresh Kumari, and 15 Ministers of State were sworn in on Sunday as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expanded his Council of Ministers. 

Five Ministers of State — Dinsha Patel, M.M. Pallam Raju, Harish Rawat, Ajay Maken and Ashwani Kumar — were promoted to Cabinet rank. 

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari and actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi were brought in as Ministers of State with independent charge, while Shashi Tharoor made a comeback as Minister of State after over two years. 

Twelve new Ministers of State were also sworn in, including Tariq Anwar (Maharashtra), K. Suresh (Kerala), A. H. Khan Chowdhry, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhry and Deepa Dasmunshi, (West Bengal), S Satyanarayana, K Jayasuyraprakash Reddy, P. Balram Naik, and Killi Kriparani (Andhra Pradesh). 

Lalchand Kataria (Rajasthan), Ranee Narah (Assam) and Ninong Ering (Arunachal Pradesh) are the others, who were sworn in as MoS.

The portfolios of newly-inducted and reshuffled ministers are as follows:


K. Rahman Khan - Minority Affairs

Dinsha J. Patel - Mines

Ajay Maken - Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation

M.M. Pallam Raju - Human Resource Development

Ashwani Kumar - Law & Justice

Harish Rawat - Water Resources

Chandresh Kumari Katoch - Culture

M. Veerappa Moily - Petroleum & Natural Gas

S. Jaipal Reddy - Science & Technology and Earth Sciences

Kamal Nath - Urban Development & Parliamentary Affairs

Vayalar Ravi - Overseas Indian Affairs

Kapil Sibal - Communications & Information Technology

C.P. Joshi - Road Transport & Highways

Kumari Selja - Social Justice & Empowerment

Pawan Kumar Bansal - Railways

Salman Khursheed - External Affairs

Jairam Ramesh - Rural Development


Manish Tewari - Information & Broadcasting

K. Chiranjeevi - Tourism

Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia - Power

K.H. Muniappa - Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises

Bharatsinh Madhavsinh Solanki - Drinking Water & Sanitation

Sachin Pilot - Corporate Affairs

Jitendra Singh - Youth Affairs & Sports


Shashi Tharoor - Human Resource Development

Kodikunnil Suresh - Labour & Employment

Tariq Anwar - Agriculture & Food Processing Industries

K. J. Surya Prakash Reddy - Railways

Ranee Narah - Tribal Affairs

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury - Railways

Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury - Health & Family Welfare

Sarvey Sathyanarayana - Road Transport & Highways

Ninong Ering - Minority Affairs

Deepa Dasmunsi - Urban Development

Porika Balram Naik - Social Justice & Empowerment

Kruparani Killi - Communications & Information Technology

Lalchand Kataria - Defence

E. Ahamed - External Affairs

D. Purandeswari - Commerce & Industry

Jitin Prasada - Defence & Human Resource Development

S. Jagathrakshakan - New & Renewable Energy

R.P.N. Singh - Home Affairs

K.C. Venugopal - Civil Aviation

Rajeev Shukla - Parliamentary Affairs & Planning







Manmohan rules out early elections

NEW DELHI: Ruling out early elections, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Sunday’s expansion of his Council of Ministers would probably be the last.

“I don’t see early elections. Elections will be held in due course,” he told reporters at the Rashtrapati Bhawan after the swearing-in ceremony.

Asked whether this would be the last reshuffle, he said: “Hopefully, probably this is the last reshuffle.” 

On Rahul Gandhi, the Prime Minister said he always wanted him in the government but Mr. Gandhi “wants to strengthen the party”. 

Asked what the message from today’s exercise was, he said it is a combination of youth, experience and relevance of portfolios. He said the road ahead is full of challenges.

To a question about the proposal to move some people from the government to the party, he said: “The party also needs men and women of experience to strengthen it. They will be equally productive in the party.” — PTI





Rahul prefers party over government

NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi, Congress General Secretary and often described as a Prime Minister-in-waiting, on Sunday chose not to join the government despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s public invitation to him to do so several times. He is to take on a more prominent role in the party, say party sources. 

Rahul Gandhi, who was present during the oath-taking ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, had met President Pranab Mukherjee last week, fuelling speculation he may finally join the government with the general elections about a year and a half away. 

He on Saturday met his mother and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and is believed to have played an important role in the finalising the list of ministers, especially in the elevation of some younger ministers like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot. Sonia had earlier said it was entirely up to Rahul to decide whether he wanted to join the government.

“It is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to induct anybody...Rahul Gandhi is more interested in the organisation,” Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told IANS on Sunday. 

There is speculation that the Congress General Secretary may take on a more prominent role in the organisation — probably that of vice-president or secretary general.

“Rahul’s focus on the party will help it in the long run,” said Alvi.

The latest invitation from the Prime Minister to Rahul to join his government came last month.

On his way back from Tehran from a NAM meet in September, Manmohan Singh said: “I have always favoured that Rahul play a more active role in government. I have invited him to be a member of the cabinet on several occasions. I sincerely hope that this time he will consider my request seriously.” 

Rahul, 42, a Lok Sabha MP from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, is expected to lead the party in the next general elections, scheduled in 2014, though Sonia Gandhi will continue to head the party. 

With the Gujarat and Himachal elections due over the next two months and nine more state polls in 2013, Rahul is expected to play a major role in strengthening the party. 

Though Rahul led the Congress’ high pitched campaign in Uttar Pradesh polls in March this year, it did not result in any significant gain with the party getting just 28 seats in the 403-member House, up by only six seats from 22 in 2007. 

Rahul was also behind the Congress’ go-alone policy in the crucial state and did not approve a tie-up with the Samajwadi Party, which swept the elections. However, the party’s vote share did go up marginally.

He had also campaigned extensively in Bihar for the 2010 Assembly polls, where the party fared miserably getting just four seats. 

“He has never hankered for a position in the government and wants to work for the government,” said a Congress leader.

It may be mentioned that with the exception of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, no other member of the Gandhi family has ever worked under anyone in the government.

Indira Gandhi was Information and Broadcasting Minister under former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964. — IANS





Anna Hazare plans to rope in Aamir Khan for his movement

MUMBAI: Veteran social activist Anna Hazare is likely to rope in Bollywood actor Aamir Khan for the new phase of his movement, which he plans to launch in January. 

Hazare would speak to Aamir in this regard after the actor returns from Haj pilgrimage, sources close to the anti-graft crusader told PTI. 

Aamir's hugely popular TV show "Satyamev Jayate" had raised public awareness about various social issues and this perhaps has prompted Hazare to think about roping in the Bollywood star to popularise the subjects he wants to take up as part of his movement, the sources said. 

Aamir had shared the dais with Hazare during the latter's agitation in Delhi last year for a strong Lokpal. He had also sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking the Government to act on the demand for a strong anti-corruption mechanism. 

After disbanding Team Anna, which spearheaded the Lokpal agitation, Hazare is in the process of finalising a new team and has spoken about including former Government employees, ex-servicemen among others in it. 

According to the 74-year-old Gandhian, besides corruption, his movement will also focus on issues related to farmers and electoral reforms. — PTI





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