DMK throws tantrums

DMK throws tantrums

New government headed by Manmohan to be sworn in today

DMK throws tantrums

Indulging in an extreme brinkmanship, the DMK announced on late Thursday evening that it would stay away from the government and instead extend outside support to the Manmohan Singh Government. However, the situation could change by the time of the formal installation of the government. The swearing-in ceremony is likely to be held at 5.30 pm at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“After discussions with the prime minister, we have decided to support the Congress from outside. Our leader Karunanidhi (Chief Minister M Karunanidhi) will go back to Chennai tomorrow (Friday) and will hold discussions with the party,” DMK minister in the outgoing UPA ministry told newsmen after his day-long talks with Congress leaders failed to hammer out a mutually acceptable power-sharing arrangement.

Apparently, the DMK was insisting on three Cabinet berths, two Ministers of State with independent charge and two other Minister of State rank slots — in total seven slots in the incoming ministry. Apparently, this was not agreeable to the Congress. But Congress managers were confident of bringing the DMK around to joining the ministry ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.

However, the Congress was drawing up its own list of candidates for induction in the new ministry. The party is likely to retain most of the key portfolios and its senior leaders have been sounded out for them. They include Pranab Mukherjee (finance), P Chidambaram (home) and A K Antony (defence). Kamal Nath and Salman Khursheed may be given external affairs and commerce or vice versa; Kapil Sibal, human resource development and H R Bharadwaj, law.

From the Congress side, the other likely ministers would be Sushil Kumar Shinde or Kishore Singhdeo (either of them may become Speaker), Sisram Ola, Murli Deora, Ambika Soni, Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh, Jaipal Reddy, Meira Kumar, C P Joshi, Mullapally Ramachandran, E Ahamed, Pallam Raju, Chinta Mohan, Nandi Yellaiah, Sai Pratap, Panabaka Lakshmi, Prithviraj Chavan, P K Bansal, Ajay Maken or Sandeep Dikshit, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Selja, Mukul Wasnik, Purandeshwari, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Sachin Pilot and others.

The PM was said to be keen to induct Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia as FM but various sections of the party wanted only a politician to head the ministry.

Kharge certain

From Karnataka, Mallikarjun Kharge is said to be a certainty along with Oscar Fernandes, the latter, if he decided not to continue in AICC posts. Other names which are doing rounds are of M Veerappa Moily and S M Krishna.

Railways for Mamata

Among other important allies, the Congress almost struck an accord with Trinamool Congress (TC) as its leader Mamata Banerjee will get railway ministry. TC will also get six ministers of state. Some of the likely ministerial faces include Tanveer Ahmed (independent charge of minority affairs) and Dinesh Trivedi (civil aviation) and Mukul Roy (coal and mines). Other ministries that TC may get include home, rural development and agriculture.

Pawar, Patel likely

Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel from NCP and Shibu Soren from JMM are the other likely candidates for ministries. While Sharad Pawar will retain agriculture, there is no guarantee that high-profile Patel will continue in civil aviation. Pawar's wings may be clipped too as he would be given only agriculture and not food, civil supplies, co-operation and animal husbandry that were attached to agriculture.
While DMK has 18 MPs, TC has 19 and NCP 9. The Congress adopted the formula of giving 1 Cabinet post for every 9 MPs. This formula may lead to some problem on the National Conference front as it has only 4 MPs. There is a possibility that the Congress may adopt the policy not appointing any first timers from its party to the government.
DH News Service

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