Debating India

Congress

Grand old party finally finds room for GeNext

Swaraj Thapa

Wednesday 26 May 2004, by THAPAR*Romila

NEW DELHI: With Manmohan Singh’s ministerial team finally in place, it is now the turn of those who are left behind in the race.The Congress leadership has begun the exercise of identifying slots for its younger MPs as well as members of the old guard who failed to make it as ministers.

The leadership has decided to appoint some of the promising newcomer MPs as parliamentary secretaries to the Prime Minister, while accommodating seniors in gubernatorial posts. Ajay Maken, who defeated Jagmohan in the New Delhi constituency, is amongst those who is tipped for the task. Mr Maken’s experience as speaker of the Delhi assembly has put him amongst the frontrunners. Mr Maken was expected to get a ministerial assignment but lost out to Kapil Sibal and Jagdish Tytler.

Keeping regional considerations in mind, party circles added that an MP from Andhra Pradesh as well as one from the east may also make it as parliamentary secretaries. From indications, it appears that the leadership may have zeroed in on the Kakinara MP, Pallam Raju as well as Kirip Chaliha, who defeated Bhupen Hazarika in Guwahati for the job. Surprisingly, it seems that the Guna MP, Jyotiraditya Scindia was bypassed while considering names for such an assignment.

The leadership has obviously followed the same pattern as Rajiv Gandhi did when he became prime minister and appointed Ahmed Patel, Oscar Fernandes and Arun Singh as parliamentary secretaries. Technically, a parliamentary secretary is not a minister, but he enjoys all the powers and perks of a minister.

A reshuffle in the AICC is also on the cards, with indications that the leadership may have made up its mind to relocate some of the senior leaders as governors. Among those whose names have emerged for the assignment include Mohsina Kidwai, R K Dhawan, Ramniwas Mirdha and Makhanlal Fotedar.

See online : The Economic Times

P.S.

in The Economic Times, Wednesday, May 26, 2004.

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