Jena likely to get water resources ministry


Jena would be moving to the ministry, as Meira Kumar, who was given the post earlier, resigned to become UPA's candidate for Lok Sabha speaker.

Jena was earlier given the minister of state position in chemicals and fertilizers, where he had to work under the cabinet minister from DMK M K Azhagiri. The Balasore MP, who was cabinet minister for Parliamentary affairs and tourism during the United Front governments of H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral, regarded this as a demotion and was persuaded by the Congress leadership at the last minute to take oath. Apparently unconvinced by the leadership's promise that justice will be done, Jena, a four-time MP, did not take charge of his ministry.

Talking to Deccan Herald on Tuesday, Jena said neither the Congress leadership nor the Prime Minister's Office intimated about his elevation. However, sources within Congress were certain that he would be elevated to the minister of state with independent charge with water resources portfolio.

‘Giant killer’

Dubbed "giant killer" during his Janata Dal days, Jena has the distinction of defeating former Orisa Chief Minister J B Patnaik in 1991 and his wife Jayanti Patnaik in 1989. He remains the sole representative from Orisa in the present cabinet.

Congress has won six out of the 21 seats from Orisa this time, bettering its tally of two in 2004.

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