UPA partners 'curbed' by Congress deputies

Stamp of PM, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul in portfolio allocations

 They may be priding themselves on earning cabinet berths, but ministers from Congress’ allies may not have everything going their way after all.
A good look at the portfolio allocation would make the message adequately clear  — all the ally ministers have juniors from the Congress.
So the fact that Sharad Pawar (NCP-agriculture) having K V Thomas from the Congress as his minister of state, or TMC leader Mamata Banerjee who controls railways having E Ahamed and K H Muniyappa (Congress) as her deputy cannot be taken as mere coincidence.
  The same is true of those from DMK — A Raja who has telecom and IT ministry, Dayanidhi Maran the textiles and M K Azhagiri chemicals and fertilizers — all have Congress’ Gurudas Kamat and Sachin Pilot, Panabaka Lakshmi, and Srikant Jena respectively as junior ministers. 
“I would commend the Prime Minister for this. It shows the political astuteness of Manmohan Singh, who has so far been known as a technocrat,” retired professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University Aswini K Ray told Deccan Herald. “If this is not to keep the allies in check, what is this for?” quipped a senior Congress leader.
Indeed, the portfolio allocation bears the touch of Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Anand Sharma’s elevation to cabinet position with two important ministries (Commerce and Industry), promoting Jairam Ramesh and trusting him with Environment and Forests with climate change talks fast approaching, handing Rural Development and Panchayat Raj ministry to Rajasthan’s C P Joshi, and giving Selja a promotion with the Housing and Tourism ministry have all the signs of the trio at work. However, there is mixed results in infrastructure ministries. The prime minister may have had limited influence in the Railways (due to the presence of Mamata Banerjee), but it is baffling to see Sushil Shinde back in the same Power Ministry he held last time with little progress.
Indeed, the ministry has been continuously ignored ever since it slipped from the able hands of Suresh Prabhu who held it during the Vajpayee government. After 2002, the ministry had such listless occupants as Anant Geete, P M Sayeed and Shinde
Performing ministers
While Kamal Nath, one of the best performing ministers, has been trusted with remedying the roads, Murli Deora and Praful Patel have been continued in petroleum and natural gas, and civil aviation ministries respectively. The biggest beneficiary of the changes is Anand Sharma, a Rajya Sabha member from the tiny Himachal Pradesh. Sharma not only ascends to cabinet ranking, but also captures the high-profile ministries of Commerce and Industry from Kamal Nath. Nath has been given the Roads ministry (which Veerappa Moily was expecting).
Shipping, one of the ministries the DMK has been gunning for, has been retained by Congress with G K Vasan at the helm. The DMK wanted the ministry to further the Sethusamudram project, but Congress made it clear that it would keep the infrastructure ministries.
The idea of retaining key ministries , except for agriculture or railways, is seen as preparing the grounds for Congress to emerge with the majority in 2014. The choice of C P Joshi for Rural Development is said to be that of Rahul Gandhi, who is also said to have picked his deputy Pradeep Jain.
Jain is MP from the backward Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and by choosing him, Congress wants to send the signal to the state that it is ready to help the area.
Education is one ministry the PM is keen on. Last time around, he could do little with the lacklustre and aging Arjun Singh, who had often been an embarrassment to the government. However with Kapil Sibal and his junior Purandeshwari, who carved a niche in the same ministry, this could be the ministry to watch for.

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