Goyal hints Jaitley may resume charge of finance ministry
and Minting Corporation of India Ltd, which prints currency notes and mints coins.
A finance ministry official, however, said under condition of anonymity that Jaitley is unlikely to resume office during the current session of Parliament which ends on Wednesday. “Piyush Goyal will reply to the debate on the interim budget in Parliament,” he added.
It is also unclear who will address the board meeting of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) scheduled for 18 February in New Delhi. It is customary for the finance minister to address the boards of RBI and the Securities and Exchange Board of India after presentation of the budget wherein RBI members often place their queries on the budget before the finance minister and other ministry officials.
On Saturday, Jaitley tweeted: “Delighted to be back home”.
Soon after, Goyal tweeted: “Delighted to welcome back respected Shri @arunjaitley ji. Very grateful to him for his support, guidance and leadership.”
Railways and coal minister Goyal was assigned the additional charge of finance ministry on 23 January, while the budget preparation was in full swing, as Jaitley flew to the US for medical consultation. Last year too, Goyal was temporarily given charge of finance while Jaitley underwent kidney transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.
Jaitley was designated “as minister without portfolio during the period of his indisposition or till such time he is able to resume his work as minister of finance and minister of corporate affairs”, a statement from the President’s office had said. niche for itself.
Moreover, the Congress’s organization in the state is thin on the ground. It has been almost three decades since the party was in power in UP. Millions of voters are now used to a political environment without the Congress. The party lacks young workers on the ground to influence voters. Senior Congress activists and workers have a limited circle of influence.
Not only this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is there as the main rival. He is the member of Parliament from Varanasi. He is firing on all cylinders to ensure another shot at power. True, the BJP doesn’t enjoy as much popularity as it did in 2014, but Modi has succeeded in salvaging his reputation by presenting an attractive interim budget and offering reservations for the poor among the upper castes.
Not only this, the BJP also has Amit Shah as its president whose organizational capabilities are unquestionable. Shah has been visiting booth workers across different parts of the state even before Priyanka entered the arena. Modi addresses the people directly, whereas Shah consolidates booths by mobilizing party workers.
It’s clear that Priyanka has to grapple with various issues. The prospects look difficult, but politics is a game of possibilities. As I have said before, personalities are becoming the face of ideologies in these difficult times. Priyanka is no exception and the party has appointed Jyotiraditya Scindia as in-charge of western UP to help her. Scindia is an articulate leader with an impressive personality. The Congress is going to address the country’s largest state on the strength of these two faces. It’s important to note that in Bihar, the party did not have any such impressive personality. Despite this, the Congress organized a massive rally in the state on 3 February. The rally was considered the biggest the party has held in 28 years.
After the victory in three assembly elections in December, the Congress has definitely been re-energized. But it will have to really work hard to regain lost ground in the Hindi belt. In this sense, this week will prove to be decisive.
Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief, Hindustan. His Twitter handle is @shekarkahin