The Great Cabinet Reshuffle

After the year ‘2009’ we saw the last cabinet reshuffle happening before elections in ‘2014’. It was a huge step taken by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in consultation with the Congress President Sonia Gandhi to improve the government’s falling image targeted with the serious charges of corruption and suffers from both lack of unity and the will to make amendments that work. In January, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised an expansive reshuffle, but when it did take place on Tuesday, it was termed as a big disappointment. It has failed to send any positive political message and has undoubtedly demonstratedthat the Prime Ministers desire to assert himself remains solely a theoretical notion.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dropped seven Ministers and inducted eight, while a few Ministers held on to their previous positions and many have ended up with additional charges. Dayanidhi Maran had resigned owing to suspicion of involvement with A. Raja in the 2G scam and his position is now held by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma temporarily. Vilasrao Deshmukh, despite his involvement in the Adarsh Scam has been given the Science and Technology Department in place of the Rural Development Department, which has been allotted to Jairam Ramesh. After the 2009 victory many people were surprised when Salmaan Khursheed and Beni Prasad Verma were not included in the Union Cabinet but in this reshuffle Salman Khursheed shifted to the high profile Law and Justice Department and Beni Prasad Verma has also been given a place in the cabinet. A new comer Jayanti Natrajan was appointed MoS with independent charge of Environment and Forest Departments. Road Transport and Highways has been given to younger aspirants such as Pallam Raju, Sachin Pilot and Jitin Prasad who are expected to be transparent and efficienct.

The second reshuffle of UPA-II was quite significant. It was done by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi after an intense consultation. Some people seem happy with the changes made in the Ministeries of Law and Justice, Rural Development and Environment while some are upset with their new portfolios. Gurudas Kamat, V Narayanaswamy, Srikant Jena and Vilas Muttumwar showed their dissatisfaction with the decisions made by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as they were demoted. A major embarrasment to the party was when Congress Minister Gurudas Kamat didn’t turn-up for the ceremony. Kamat, who was elevated as MoS to oversee the Ministry of

Drinking Water and Sanitation was unhappy for not making it as a Cabinet Minister and resigned the same day.  A few Ministers held on to their previous positions such as P.Chidambram ( Home Minister), Pranab Mukherjee (Finance Minister), Kapil Sibal (Telecom Ministry with HRD) etc.

Our opinion projects that there are only 30% chances that there would be any improvement in the government’s image and rest the dilemma continues. The filling of vacancies by new comers brings a new track for the nation in the world of development and on the other hand it can also give way to some loopholes if any of the eight new members set out to misuse their positions. Prior to this, Suresh Kalmadi, the chief in-charge of the Common Wealth Games, was also arrested for being corrupt in the international level event. The other case stands where A. Raja was sentenced to jail in the 2G spectrum scandal and later Dayanidhi Maran resigned as he too was suspected of involvement with A. Raja in the 2G scam.

After looking at all these scandals, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi decided to reshuffle the Cabinet with the hope of bringing out positive changes in areas where the nation is lagging behind.

Komal Gupta