NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision to forward the resignation of Mumbai leader Gurudas Kamat from the government is a clear signal to ministers sulking after Tuesday's reshuffle to fall in line, and get on with implementing the agenda set out by the Congress leadership.
While Kamat is out, senior minister Veerappa Moily — unhappy at being blamed for the government's reverses in the Supreme Court in 2G, Salwa Judum and black money cases — took charge of corporate affairs on Wednesday, and said he had no grouse with the PM and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi over being moved from the law ministry.
His remarks about “vested interests”, Moily clarified, were intended as a warning to his successor in the law ministry Salman Khurshid about resistance to reform. The minister said he is looking forward to working on the companies bill, corporate social responsibility issues and measures to protect small investors. It is understood that a word of “advice” to end speculation on his being miffed helped.
Sources said the PM's post-reshuffle remarks that he hoped there will be no rejig till the 2014 election were meant to convey a business-like message to his ministerial team. After speculation about ministerial changes engaged attention, the PM wants ministers to work diligently and improve Congress's comeback prospects.
The PM met Orissa leader Srikant Jena who has a
rgued that denying him Cabinet status gives BJD leader Naveen Patnaik an opportunity to run down the Congress. The meeting indicates the PM may see some merit in Jena's case, and is expected to pave the way for his taking charge of statistics and programme implementation as minister of state with independent charge.
A meeting of the full council of ministers — as opposed to the usual Cabinet — has been called on Thursday. The PM is expected to outline a mission message.
Congress too made it clear that the PM knows best with regard to ministerial appointments. “These things should not have happened,” said Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi.
It is clear the government is not inclined to cater to hurt egos. Sources said the reshuffle had been finalized after elaborate consultations between the PM and the Congress president, and the possibility of a review was negligible.
Gurudas Kamat's precipitous exit from the government has caused some bewilderment as many feel the Mumbai north-west MP had committed hara kiri as he had allowed himself to be driven by his long-running rivalry with fellow city politician Murli Deora.
While Deora has quit as corporate affairs minister, his son Milind has been inducted as a minister of state. Kamat is believed to be resentful about the drinking water and sanitation portfolio offered to him despite being made minister of state with independent charge.