Blamed for massive power failure, Shinde rewarded with Home Ministry!
The appointment could not have come at a much worse time. Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde under all-round attack for inefficient running of his ministry, with power grids collapse for two consecutive days, was on Tuesday given the Home portfolio.
P. Chidambatram, as was expected, moved to the Finance Ministry, vacated by Pranab Mukherjee. Chidambaram has taken a major share of the pie of the Empowered Group of Ministers and Group of Ministers after the exit of Pranab Mukherjee.
Chidambaram now heads seven out of the 15 Group of Ministers (GoM) and two Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoMs), followed by Defence Minister A K Antony who chairs three EGoMs and four GoMs.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who a fortnight ago had threatened to pull out of government contending lack of say in governance to coalition partners, has been made chairman of one EGoM and three GoMs.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also pruned the number EGoMs from the earlier 12 to six at present. Earlier, all the EGoMs were chaired by Mukherjee. The list of GoMs has also been brought down to 15 from the earlier 27.
The six EGoMs wound up by the government include those on the Food Security Act, National Highways Development Project, issues related to SEZs, and under-recoveries of oil marketing companies.
Antony chairs the EGoMs on gas pricing, mass rapid transit systems, and ultra mega power projects, Mr. Chidambaram heads EGoMs on telecom spectrum allocation, and reforms in the Central public sector enterprises. Pawar has been made the chairman of the EGoM on drought.
Mr. Chidambaram has been made the head of GoMs on civil aviation, Prasar Bharati issues, amending the Competition Act, issues related to setting up a coal regulator and revision of criterion to exclude socially advanced persons from the list of OBCs. He continues to head the GoMs on Media and on Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
Antony has been made the head of GoMs on identifying a site for the National War Memorial; to consider the reports of the Administrative Reforms Commission; on steps to tackle corruption and on issues related to the Commonwealth Games.
Corporate Affairs Minister Veerappa Moily will additionally handle Power Ministry.
There was no credible explanation of what happened on Monday and on Tuesday although Shinde assured that all hands were on the deck. The turmoil caused by the back-to-back grid failures is almost at the scale of a national emergency. Yet, instead of allowing the top political leader in charge of the Power Ministry find a way out the disaster with his crisis team, the Congress leadership has shown utter callousness by giving him a plum portfolio.
- Asian Tribune -