Shukla, Meenakshi, Manish for young Cabinet?

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “open indication” of a Cabinet reshuffle by reducing its average age has enthused young MPs. But it has given sleepless nights to the senior citizens in his Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister plans to undertake this exercise before the Winter Session of Parliament begins early November.

If Dr Singh goes strictly by the performance of young MPs in the Lok Sabha, then Mr Manish Tewari (Punjab), Dr Jyoti Mirdha (Rajasthan), Ms Meenakshi Natrajan (Madhya Pradesh) and Mr Raj Babbar (Uttar Pradesh) figure prominently.
Mr Rajeev Shukla has already been playing the role of a floor manager and coordinator in the Rajya Sabha; he may find a place as his rapport with MPs, cutting across party lines, could help the PM in the government.
The chances of Mr Shashi Tharoor’s return as a minister are bright. He had to quit following a controversy connected to the Indian Premier League but was efficient as a minister of state for external affairs.
But if he goes by political considerations keeping in mind the upcoming elections in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Assam, then he would have to increase the number of ministers from these states.
Mr Milind Deora (Maharashtra) and Mr Deepender Singh Hooda (Haryana) will find it difficult to find a Cabinet berth because their fathers already occupy important positions in the government (at the Centre and in Haryana).
Minister of state for science and technology (Independent charge) Prithviraj Chavan could be rewarded after his success in the passage of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill of 2010. Among the young ministers, Mr Jitin Prasada (minister of state for petroleum and natural gas) has been facing the two Houses with confidence.
Sources said minister of state for commerce and industry Jyotiraditya Scindia could handle dual responsibilities — the government and the party — effectively if the leadership utilises him in Madhya Pradesh with a role.
Uttar Pradesh does not have a Cabinet rank minister while Andhra Pradesh as only one, Mr Jaipal Reddy. There are three current vacancies in the Union Cabinet.
According to Congress insiders, the young team that the PM plans to develop in his Cabinet will constitute those who are closely working with AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Dr Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi are keen on Mr Rahul Gandhi joining the government, but the young Gandhi has not yet made up his mind.

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