New Delhi: Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Monday ruled out any "pressure" on the shifting of Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy from Petroleum to Science and Technology Ministry. "The Cabinet reshuffle is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. There is no question of any pressure. Jaipal Reddy is a very seasoned politician. He has served in the Petroleum Ministry and now he will serve in Science and Technology Ministry," said Digvijaya.
"With additional funds now going to the Science and Technology Ministry and an increased focus on the sector, there is great scope for work here, which he will carry out," Singh said.
Party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit also dismissed the talk of any pressure behind the change in Reddy's portfolio, saying "there are a lot of reasons why ministers are given a particular slot". He advised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to look within reminding it of the controversy during the shifting of NDA ministers Jaswant Singh and Suresh Prabhu.
BJP and civil society leaders attacked the Prime Minister's decision to take Reddy out of Petroleum Ministry as having been dictated by corporate pressure and alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had rewarded the corrupt ministers with "promotions" in the reshuffle.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said "tainted" ministers have been given a new lease of life by Singh and the government "is more tainted now than it was before the Cabinet reshuffle". The BJP is particularly critical of the elevation of Salman Khurshid from Law to the Ministry of External Affairs.