Srikant Jena elevates as Independent Minister of Cabinet

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader from Odisha Srikant Jena, who had been sulking for not being given a cabinet berth in UPA-II, was on Tuesday elevated as a Minister with Independent charge of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Sources close to the Minister, however, maintained that Jena, who continues to be Minister of State in Chemicals and Fertilisers, was expecting a cabinet berth.

Jena who weathered the pro-BJD wave in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections to win the Balasore Lok Sabha constituency was among the six Congress leaders from the state to be elected to Parliament.

A Cabinet Minister in the United Front government, he made no bones about his unhappiness at not being nominated as a Cabinet Minister in the UPA government and had even met Congress president Sonia Gandhi soon after the first Cabinet reshuffle in January this year.

He had contended that a representation from Odisha in the Cabinet would help revive the party in the state as he was the sole member from the state in the Cabinet.

A graduate from Utkal University, Jena has held several important positions and as a member in the Committee on Public Accounts, Committee on Public Undertakings, Library Committee and Committee on Environment.

He was a Cabinet Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Tourism in the 11th Lok Sabha.