Cabinet reshuffle heralds change

Shifting Power Equation In Cong

POLITICAL POTPOURRI

ANIL ANAND

New Delhi, Oct 29: As the political observers wait for the much awaited reorganization of the All India Congress Committee, the reshuffle in Dr Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet has already bared the contours of the power-shift in the more than a century old party.
While the focus of the power centre will undoubtedly be the 10 Janpath, it is likely to be further strengthened with the elevation of Rahul Gandhi to No. 2 position in the party. He is likely to be elevated either as the working president or secretary general of the AICC. Close on the heels of young faces close to him making it to the Cabinet, the party reorganization is set to witness this phenomenon unfolding in a bigger way.
The scion of the Gandhi family has already left his imprint on the Cabinet rejig with many young faces being either elevated or inducted into the Cabinet at his behest. The most interesting part of the entire exercise, indicative of a power-shift, is the voluntary exit of Ambika Soni to take over an important assignment in AICC and promotion of some ministers known for proximity to her.
Over the months, Ambika Soni had been indicating her preference to go back to the organization which she had left to become the Information and Broadcasting minister. Her return to the organization, most probably as a close aide of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, will usher the party into a new power equation which is presently heavily loaded in favour of Sonia’s political secretary Ahmed Patel.
The near absence of Patel from the Cabinet reshuffle process, normally he has been playing a proactive role in the run-up to reshuffles by acting as a conduit between the high command and prospective candidates, has strengthened the belief about return of Ambika Soni with a bang. Patel had left Delhi for Gujarat to celebrate Eid few days before the October 27 reshuffle.
Interestingly, a study of the reshuffle process reveals that most of the candidates elevated to the prestigious ministries are close to Ambika camp. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal are her close allies. Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath getting additional charge of the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry is another development which cannot go unnoticed. Soni and Nath share a close rapport.
Her likely return to the inner circle of Congress president and Nath holding the charge of the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, which has added significance in the coalition era, leaves no one in doubt about the shape of things to emerge in the party. Even the new Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari, representing Ludhiana in Lok Sabha, is her close acolyte. Although he has been given independent charge of the Ministry, his functioning is likely to have an imprint of his predecessor Soni.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 29 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 30 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST




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