Reshuffle a musical chair: Kejriwal

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 28, 2012 11:36 hrs

Social activist turned politician Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday called the cabinet reshuffle in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as game of musical chair to maintain power balance.

"Salman Khurshid was made foreign minister but no one knows why. Is it because he failed as a law minister or because he did well? So it is musical chair game.

"The entire exercise is about keeping one´s side weighty with their people and it is the internal politics of Congress and UPA," said Kejriwal speaking to reporters.

He said the country would get nothing from the reshuffle. It is a musical chair game, he said.

He said though lot is being said about infusing youth, the question is whether these young faces have done anything worthwhile so far to boast of.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underwent a major reshuffle on Sunday combining experience with youth with the swearing in of 22 new ministers, including many among the existing ministers who were either promoted to cabinet ranks or given independent charge.

Salman Khurshid is the new External Affairs Minister. M. Veerappa Moily is the Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister while Pawan Kumar Bansal got Railways after the reshuffle.

President of India Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of secrecy and office to the new ministers at Rashtrapathi Bhavan.

The cabinet rank ministers who took oath are K Rahman Khan, Dinshaw Patel, Ajay Maken, Pallam Raju, Ashwini Kumar, Harish Rawat and Chandresh Kumari Katoch.

Ashwini Kumar is the new law minister of India while K Rahman Khan would be holding minority affairs portfolio.

The two ministers of state with independent charge sworn in are Manish Tewari, who was the Congress spokesperson, and Telugu actor turned politician K Chiranjeevi. While the former became Information and Broadcasting Minister, the latter is the new tourism minister of India.

The ministers of state who were inducted in the government are Shashi Tharoor, Kodi Kunil Suresh, Tariq Anwar (NCP), K Jayasurya Prakash Reddy, Rani Nara, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhry, A H Khan Chowdhry, S Satyanarayana, Ninong Ering, Deepa Dasmunshi, Porika Balram Naik, Dr Smt Krupa Ravi Killi and Lalchand Kataria.

Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia has been elevated as the Power Minister with independent charge while Sachin Pilot got Corporate Affairs with independent charge.

A total of 17 new faces would be seen in the new ministry while Andhra Pradesh got maximum representation with six chosen from the state roiled by the demand for a separate Telangana state.

Deepa Dasmunshi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who are from West Bengal, are two leaders from the state staunchly opposed to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee whose Trinamool Congress walked out of the UPA over economic reforms like FDI in multi-brand retail.

A H Khan Chowdhury is another West Bengal leader (from Malda) who was sworn in. He is the brother of late railway minister ABA Ghani Khan.

In perhaps the last major cabinet reshuffle of the UPA before the 2014 general elections, Congress-led UPA tried to infuse young blood.

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