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Cabinet reshuffle buzz gets stronger

Sanjay Jog/Mumbai 15 Sep 12 | 06:35 PM

Congress party circles are talking about a major cabinet reshuffle this week. However few leaders believe that it may happen on September 18 after President Pranab Mukherjee reaches to the capital.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, public health minister Gulam Nabi Azad and social justice minister Mukul Wasnik are said to be tipped for party organizational work while party spokesman Janardan Dwivedi and his junior Manish Tiwari are likely to be included in the Union cabinet. Minister for shipping GK Wasan, who is the son of party stalwart late GK Moopnar, may be divested of his current portfolio.

Maharshtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who has clarified that he is not shifting to New Delhi, is the party high command's choice for the ministries of power or petroleum and natural gas. There are three front-runners as Chavan's successors. They include former minister Narayan Rane, former union minister of state for new and renewable energy Vilas Muttemwar and former Union minister of state for Gurudas Kamat.

Incidently Kamat, who resigned after he was appointed as minister of state with an independent charge of newly created portfolio of drinking water and sanitation in July last year, is being also considered for his inductionas the cabinet minister.

Moreover, party MP from Beharampur Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury may be inducted in the cabinet. Chowdhury is known for his proximity with former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. On the other hand, petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy may be appointed as the Andhra Pradesh chief minister in a bid to keep the party's flock together especially in the wake of challenge posed by Jagan Reddy, son of former chief minister late YSR Reddy. In such a scenario, present incumbent N Kiran Kumar Reddy to be rehabilitated at the Centre.

Further, commerce minister Anand Sharma, who is currently holding additional charge of textiles, would be unburdened of the latter. DMK leader TR Balu may be the new textiles minister. DMK had held the textile ministry until Dayanidhi Maran resigned in the wake of the 2G scam. Another DMK MP TKS Elangovan, who is elected from the Chennai North Lok Sabha constituency, is expected to be inducted in the council of ministers.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's close confidants Jyotiraditya Scindia and Jitin Prasad are expected to be made ministers of state with independent charge. Besides, party leader and the Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs Harish Rawat, who had staged a rebellion after the appointment of Vijay Bahuguna as Uttarakhand chief minister, is expected to get Independent charge. Another leader from Uttarakhand and party MP of Pauri Garhwal  Satpal  Maharaj is also under the party's consideration for a ministry berth.

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