Thursday, November 5, 2009

Union Cabinet shuffle on November 10?

5 Nov 2009


NEW DELHI: With the Maharashtra government's formation and Jharkhand poll alliance with former BJP leader Babulal Marandi's Vikas Morcha off her chest, Congress President Sonia Gandhi is likely to broach many pending issues, including the Union Cabinet reshuffle, at the party's core group meeting here Friday at the PM's residence.

The cabinet reshuffle that may see induction of the MP son Jagan of former Andhra chief minister YSR Reddy killed in a helicopter mishap is expected on or around November 10.

Other issues on the agenda of the core group include the AICC reshuffle to fill vacancies of many joining ministry, appointment of three governors and selection of six for the Presidential nomination to the Rajya Sabha. Also in the list is two Anglo Indians' nomination to the Lok Sabha.

The party sources said Sonia Gandhi wanted to thrash out all these issues by consulting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders like Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, A K Antony and Ahmed Patel, but they were held up so far because of other pressing issues like hiccups in the deal with the NCP on ministerial berths in the new Maharashtra Government.

The Maharashtra tangle was sorted out following NCP general secretary Praful Patel holding one-to-one talks with Sonia's political secretary Ahmed Patel and agree on the Congress have 22 ministers and the NCP 20. Both also thrashed out the ticklish issue of key portfolios, facilitating Chief Minister-designate Ashok Chavan approaching the governor for the oath-taking ceremony on Friday.

Chavan flew into Delhi Thursday evening to discuss names of the Congress ministers to be inducted with Sonia Gandhi, who directed him to consult Ahmed Patel and Maharashtra affairs incharge Antony, the defence minister, and decide.

The party sources said Sonia Gandhi has also summoned Andhra Chief Minister Konijeti (76) here on Saturday to discuss the party affairs in the state that were kept pending all these weeks because of a section of the party MLAs and MPs fiercely lobbying for Jagan Reddy to become the CM as the successor to his father killed in the helicopter crash.

Rosaiah, who will be making the first trip to Delhi since after taking over as the CM after YSR's death, would be sounded on some of the issues that Jagan is worried not to be resolved since his father is no more to handle them, the sources said, adding that he has been also told to have a meeting with the Prime Minister on the issues of Andhra Pradesh pending with the Centre.


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