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No Cabinet reshuffle in the offing

Staff Reporter

Party High Command in no mood to undertake such an exercise for now

NEW DELHI: Even as political circles in the Capital are agog with rumours about Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit wanting to undertake a Cabinet reshuffle as she steps into her seventh year in office next month, it is learnt that the Party High Command is no mood to undertake such an exercise at this juncture and has declined to entertain any such requests.

Insiders in the party informed that Ms. Dikshit has been under pressure from her close supporters and MLAs in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) to "drop'' some Ministers who have become inconvenient to her. The plea of the loyalists group is that the Government needs a new look and therefore it was important that some fresh blood in included into the Council of Ministers by weeding out non-performers. Interestingly, it may be recalled that some of the loyalist legislators had launched a broadside against some Ministers including the Finance Minister, A. K. Walia, the Transport Minister, Haroon Yusuf, and the Education Minister, Arvinder Singh Lovely, and had sought a review of the situation. Some MLAs even held an official press conference to make adverse comments on the working of some Ministers, leading many to believe that they had the backing of Ms. Dikshit.

"The Chief Minister and her close aides have already drawn up a new shadow Cabinet and are now pressing for a Cabinet reshuffle so that she could get her own people in the Council of Ministers and weed out those who have show dissent in the recent past. It is a very unfortunate situation and such mistrust never prevailed in the Cabinet earlier. The past one and half years have been very intriguing and badly affected the working of the Government,'' a senior Minister remarked.

It is learnt that some Ministers have already appraised the high command about the prevailing situation and the campaign being run against them by some MLAs.

It is understood that Ms. Dikshit had broached the topic of a possible reshuffle with the party high command and some senior AICC leaders. However, things have not worked according to the plan and the party leadership is believed to have conveyed to the Chief Minister very politely that such an exercise was not on their minds at the present juncture. It is learnt that a number of changes in the organisation as well as the Union Government are expected to take place during the next one or two months and amid all this there was hardly any scope for Delhi getting the nod for such a sensitive exercise. Also, the party is of the view that it would soon be carrying out a review of the working of the Congress-led Government in Delhi and therefore all such options have to wait till submission of feedback on this issue. "The party is already appraised of the massive resentment prevailing among the people over the issues of power and water. It is carrying out its own assessment of the situation and would take a decision only after taking everything into consideration, including the sentiments of the MLAs and party-men at large,'' a senior party leader remarked.

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