No Odisha share in Cabinet reshuffle

New Delhi: The reshuffle of Council of Ministers once again disappointed Odisha after all hopes fell flat as no parliamentarians from the State were inducted in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet here on Monday.

Speculation was rife that Srikant Jena, the sole representative in the Union Council of Ministers from Odisha who is currently holding the MoS (Independent Charge) for Chemicals & Fertilisers and Statistics & Programme Implementation portfolio, would be elevated to Cabinet rank.

It was too rumoured in political circles that Nabrangpur MP Pradeep Majhi could get MoS berth after the Sunday Congress organisational revamp, an exercise which was influenced by Congress heir apparent Rahul Gandhi who during his State visit earlier this year had stressed on youth power.

Though Majhi had denied all the speculations and expressed his intent to work as a parliamentarian for his region, his name hogged limelight following Rahul’s two-day State visit in which the Congress vice-president emphasized the need for youth taking up the party's leadership.

Meanwhile, the Monday reshuffle has spread huge disappointment in the Congress camp which was quite hopeful to see another MP as Union minister.

“Of course we are disappointed. A second representation after Jena from Odisha would have been much better,” said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee chief Jayadev Jena.

In perhaps the last reshuffle and expansion of the Union Council of Ministers, Mallikarjun Kharge was made the Railways Minister as eight more were inducted with veterans Sis Ram Ola and Oscar Fernandes (Road and Highways) making a comeback.

Senior woman leader from Rajasthan Girija Vyas (Housing, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation) and K S Rao (Textiles) from Andhra Pradesh were brought in as Cabinet Ministers in today’s exercise.

Three new faces — Santosh Chowdhury (Health and Family Welfare), J D Seelam (Finance) and E N S Nachiappan (Commerce&Industry) were made Ministers of State along with veteran Maharashtra leader Manikrao Gavit (Social Justice & Empowerment).