Aiyarآ’s position uncertain as cabinet reshuffle looms

Vol 9, PW 11 (08 Sep 05) News in Brief

India might have a new oil minister when PM Manmohan Singh reshuffles his cabinet on 10th September.

Influential voices within Congress want a separate minister for the posts of oil minister and Panchayati Raj (local self-government). Aiyar holds both.

On 27th August, its believed Congress chief and power-behind-the-throne Sonia Gandhi asked Aiyar which job he prefers. Aiyar clearly told her hed like to retain Panchayati Raj.

For the past 20 years, Aiyar has been closely associated with grass-roots movements to give more power to local self-government. He is also known as one of those responsible for pushing through an amendment to the Indian constitution for this purpose.

It is unclear if Gandhi will accept Aiyars preference as he is seen to be doing a commendable job as oil minister in pursuit of equity oil and gas overseas. We are told Aiyar might be asked to remain oil minister and give up Panchayati Raj.

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