THE TESTED AND TIRED

The el­e­va­tion of P. Chi­dambaram and Sushilku­mar Shinde shows the lim­its of UPA’S re­sources

India Today - - NA TION - By Priya Sahgal

On July 31, Man­mo­han Singh re­ar­ranged a few chairs in his Cab­i­net. There was no sign of the much- hyped reshuf­fle. Nor did Rahul Gandhi make his min­is­te­rial de­but, de­spite a re­cent state­ment that he wanted to play a larger role in the party and gov­ern­ment.

With In­dia un­der the grip of its big­gest power break­down, Power Min­is­ter Sushilku­mar Shinde was fur­ther em­pow­ered with the plum home port­fo­lio, and P. Chi­dambaram went back to fi­nance. When Man­mo­han had taken over fi­nance from Pranab Mukher­jee, there was a me­dia blitzkrieg from the PMO claim­ing the Prime Min­is­ter was tak­ing an ac­tive in­ter­est in the min­istry, and had told of­fi­cials to find ways to re­store in­vestor faith by re­viv­ing mu­tual funds, tak­ing a relook at GAAR and ret­ro­spec­tive tax. But the en­thu­si­asm soon fiz­zled out as the Prime Min­is­ter re­alised there was lit­tle he could do. Chi­dambaram is yet to re­veal his magic for­mula.

Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Min­is­ter Veer­appa Moily is sad­dled with ad­di­tional charge of power. In the last reshuf­fle in July 2011, Moily had been shunted out of the law min­istry be­cause of his lack­lus­tre per­for­mance. Moily had said he “should not be hanged for mis­takes of the ad­min­is­tra­tive ma­chin­ery”. Two Cab­i­net min­is­ters shrugged when asked why the Prime Min­is­ter had handed the cru­cial power port­fo­lio to Moily, and that too as merely an ad­di­tional charge.

The buzz in the Congress is that Rahul will not be join­ing the Gov­ern­ment. Digvi­jaya Singh, his of­fi­cial mind- reader, told the me­dia re­cently, “I want Rahul to take a larger role and pre­pare the party for the 2014 elec­tions; I don’t want him to join the Gov­ern­ment.” Rahul has, in the re­cent past, ac­com­pa­nied his mother So­nia Gandhi to con­grat­u­late Mukher­jee on his pres­i­den­tial poll vic­tory, and met Congress Chief Min­is­ters Prithvi­raj Cha­van and Ashok Gehlot. He also found time to watch a late night show of the movie Cock­tail, in one of Delhi’s up­mar­ket theatres. The Congress is hop­ing he’ll soon get on with his own show.

YASHBANT NEGI / www. in­di­a­to­day­im­ages. com

SUSHILKU­MAR SHINDE AND P. CHI­DAMBARAM ( RIGHT)

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