No new cabinet induction from UPA allies

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NEW DELHI - The cabinet shuffle Wednesday saw the elevation of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel as a cabinet minister with change in his portfolio from civil aviation to heavy industries and public enterprises but there were no new induction from other parties in the United Progressive Alliance.

The only other party supporting the ruling coalition which figured in the shuffle was Muslim League Kerala State Committee whose leader E. Ahamed was made the minister of state for external affairs. He was the junior railway minister till now.

The cabinet shuffle also saw a change in the portfolio of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. While Pawar retained agriculture, he was given additional charge of food processing and relieved of the responsibility of consumer affairs, food and public distribution.

The NCP said it was happy with the reshuffle.

The changes are PM’s (prime minister’s) prerogative. We are happy that Mr. Praful Patel has been elevated to cabinet rank, said party spokesman D.P. Tripathi.

A senior DMK leader said that though the party was entitled for a place in the cabinet in place of former communications minister A. Raja, who quit in November last year over the 2008 2G spectrum allocation scandal, he was not sure of the reasons for the induction having been deferred.

The leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the induction was a matter between party chief M. Karunanidhi and the Congress leadership.

There was speculation that the Trinamool Congress would get an additional berth. Both Tamil Nadu and West Bengal will go to polls later this year.

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