New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh effected a major Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, giving away the major share to Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal to counter the Telangana forces in the former and ex-ally Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress in the latter. Several ministers were elevated to the Cabinet rank, with many new faces being included at the MoS level, even as portfolios of several ministers were changed.
The following were elevated to the Cabinet rank: K Rahman Khan (Karnataka) - Minority Affairs Ministry, Dinsha Patel (Gujarat) - Mines, Ajay Maken (New Delhi) - Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Pallam Raju (Andhra Pradesh) - Human Resource Development Ministry, Ashwani Kumar (Punjab) - Law Ministry, Harish Rawat (Uttarakhand) - Water Resources, Chandresh Kumari Katoch (Rajasthan) - Culture Ministry.
Manish Tewari (Punjab) and K Chiranjeevi (Andhra Pradesh) were made Ministers of State with independent charge. Tewari is MoS Information and Broadcasting, while Chiranjeevi is MoS Tourism.
K Rahman Khan, Dinsha Patel, Ajay Maken, Pallam Raju, Ashwani Kumar, Harish Rawat and CK Katoch were elevated to Cabinet rank.
The following leaders were made Ministers of State: Shashi Tharoor (Kerala) - HRD, Kodikunnil Suresh (Kerala), Tariq Anwar (Maharashtra), K Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy (Andhra Pradesh), Ranee Narah (Assam), Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (West Bengal), Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury (West Bengal), Sarve Satyanarayana (Andhra Pradesh), Ninong Ering (Arunachal Pradesh), Deepa Dasmunsi (West Bengal), Porika Balram Naik (Andhra Pradesh), Dr Smt Kruparani Killi (Andhra Pradesh), Lalchand Kataria (Rajasthan).
While Veerappa Moily was made Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Salman Khurshid got Ministry of External Affairs. D Purandeswari got Commerce Ministry while Jaipal Reddy is expected to get Science and Technology Ministry. Sachin Pilot was made MoS with independent charge, Corporate Affairs. Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia was made MoS with independent charge, Power.
Speaking to reporters after the swearing-in ceremony, PM Manmohan Singh said that hopefully this was the last reshuffle before the 2014 General Elections. When asked about Rahul Gandhi, the PM said that he has always wanted him in the government. "But he wants to focus on the party instead," said Singh.