In a much awaited cabinet reshuffle Manmohan Singh’s government dropped seven ministers and induct V Kishore Chandra Deo and seven other new faces, and elevated three others including Jairam Ramesh from whom Environment and Forests has been taken away. Mr Ramesh is believed to be close to Sonia Gandhi, Congress president and the power behind the government, but has had differences with the prime minister and has made several controversial comments in recent time. He has now been given Rural Development from where Vilasrao Deshmukh has been shifted to Science and Technology, and Earth Sciences.
In the much-talked about revamping of his ministry, Singh did not touch the ‘big four’ — Finance, Home, Defence and External Affairs — and also kept four ministries, including Telecom and Civil Aviation, as additional charge.
M Veerappa Moily also lost his ministry of Law to Salman Khursheed .
Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi has been elevated to the Cabinet rank and given the Railways portfolio left vacant by Mamata Banerjee after she became West Bengal Chief Minister.
The other new faces in the Council of Ministers are Jayanthi Natarajan who gets Environment and Forests, Dibrugarh MP Paban Singh Ghatowar (DONER), Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyaya (Health and Family Welfare), Alwar MP Jitendra Singh (Home), Milind Deora (Communication and IT) and Rajiv Shukla (Parliamentary Affairs).