New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi could be planning a major revamp shifting ministers out of the Cabinet for party work. Sources say Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Law & Justice and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vyalar Ravi want to leave the ministry. All the four ministers have written to Sonia Gandhi, according to sources. The ministers now want to work for the party.
A big reshuffle is likely after the Antony panel submits its report on recent poll reverses. The BJP has called this mere 'window dressing'.
In a repeat of Indira Gandhi's Kamaraj Plan when ministers resigned to strengthen the party, the four ministers among others could be the new face of the Congress in a desperate attempt to bring the party back on track.
Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which could be Rahul Gandhi's big ticket opportunity, Sonia is planning a major revamp within the party and the government and the idea is to have organisation strongmen in the hope of a course correction.
The UPA-II is in a state of drift. The Congress seems to be slipping by the day. Poor election results, slow movement of files within the government indicate that 2014 could be a missed opportunity for the Congress.
But for ministers like Khurshid, who was criticised for his contribution to Congress's poor performance in Uttar Pradesh, it is an attempt to salvage his political career and be on the right side of the party, that is with the Gandhis.
Vyalar, however, denied having offered to step down, but the fact that he has been becoming more involved in Andhra Pradesh politics is a sign that the minister who was stripped off his Civil Aviation Ministry, may be brought back into the party fold.
"There is no truth in the story. I have not met the Congress president. I am happy with the job I have. Party made me the minister. I have not written any letter," he said.
But the question is whether this would work or will the changes be cosmetic. There are also questions as to if this is coming too late and where will the men come from.
MoS PMO V Narayanasamy said, "Whatever the Cong President says, I will do. If she says go back to the party, I will. If she says do government work, I will. We are loyal soldiers of the party."
But for the BJP, which has been the most strident critic of the drift in the UPA, this experiment by Sonia makes no sense.
"The issue with the government is of governance. This kind of window dressing will not help much," BJP's Chief National Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.