The Union Cabinet reshuffle was today dubbed as "lacklustre" and a "face saving" exercise by the opposition with the BJP claiming it will not do any good to the country or improve the Congress' image.
The UPA's former ally Trinamool Congress, which pulled out of Manmohan Singh government last month, had a different take, saying the three Congress leaders chosen as ministers of state from West Bengal were there only to 'needle' the party. It also said West Bengal was deprived of adequate ministerial representation.
Dismissing the reshuffle as a "face saving" exercise, BJP's ally Akali Dal said it is the "same old wine in new bottle".
"This reshuffle was lacklustre. It will not do any good to the country or even to the Congress party. It was expected that young blood will be given more representation in the Cabinet but this has not been done," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told PTI in New Delhi.
Hussain, who became a Cabinet minister at the age of 32 in the erstwhile NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said even the few young leaders who took oath of office have not been given a Cabinet berth.
"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has only given the young leaders Minister of State status. The average age of the Cabinet has not come down much though it was being talked about," he said.
Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal said the reshuffle is not going to help Congress and in no way improve the image of the UPA government.
"This exercise would prove futile. What the country needed at this crucial juncture was some revolutionary changes in policies in the interests of the common man and not political gimmicks or jugglery of sorts to befool the aam adami (common man)," Badal told reporters in Ludhiana.
In Kolkata, TMC leader Saugata Roy said "West Bengal has been thoroughly deprived in the cabinet reshuffle. West Bengal had two most important leaders (Pranab Mukherjee and Mamata Banerjee) in the Union Cabinet in 2009. Now it has none", Roy told PTI.
The three Congress leaders from the state, all bitter critics of Mamata Banerjee, were picked up as ministers only to 'needle' TMC, Roy told PTI. Roy ruled out its impact on TMC's political growth.