Minor Cabinet expansion likely to give Muslims better representation



In the running, according to political grapevine, are Rajya Sabha deputy chairman K Rahman Khan and Rajya Sabha  member Mohsina Kidwai.

It is also likely that Trinamool Congress may get a minister of state berth which may go to Sudip Bandopadhyay. According to Congress sources, the prime minister may choose to give more berths to Muslims following complaints of under representation of the community from Muslim organisations.

At present, Singh’s council of ministers has five members from the Muslim community — two Cabinet and three Ministers of State — one less than the first term of the UPA government.

Sachar recommendations
It is said that the Muslim organisations had demanded at the time of formation of the government that there should be 11 ministers from the community which would be in line with the Sachar Committee recommendations.

One of the reasons for Khan’s name figuring is because the Upper House now has both chairman and his deputy belonging to the same (Muslim) community (vice-president Hamid Ansari and Khan) and hence there is a need to replace the deputy. However, there is a problem in choosing Khan, who is known to be effective as deputy chairman.

Karnataka, to which Khan belongs, is already over-represented as it has four ministers from the state (it has only six out of 28 Lok Sabha members). There are three Cabinet ministers and one minister of state  from Karnataka. Singh can induct only two more ministers, as the strength of his ministry is now 79 and the cap is 81.

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