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Rahul Gandhi not to join UPA govt

PTI 19 Sep 2012, 12:41:13 PM IST
New Delhi, Aug 1: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has decided not to join the Manmohan Singh-led government at the centre, Economic Times reported. 

The report said, the Congress party heir apparent  will instead  focus on overseeing his party's preparations for the next Lok Sabha polls, senior Congress  leaders told the newspaper.  

The report said, Rahul Gandhi is reluctant to take up a ministerial portfolio despite his recent statement that he would play a more proactive role in the party and the government.

"There is no need for re-designating Rahul Gandhi. He is in charge of the organisation now," said a senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be named.  

Rahul Gandhi will focus on organisational matters and spearhead the party's campaign in the BJP-ruled Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the report says.  

On Monday, Rahul Gandhi discussed with Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan the future of the party's alliance with the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party and the possible political realignment in Maharashtra.

Although there has been a growing clamour in Congress for a dominant role in the government , Rahul Gandhi has been displaying a distinct reluctance to join the government.

 This has also put paid to the hopes of the younger ministers, reported to be close to Rahul, aspiring  for promotions.  

Rahul Gandhi's move became apparent on Tuesday, when several Congress leaders were disappointed by the mini-reshuffle effected by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  

While many in the party acknowledged that P Chidambaram's return to the finance ministry would send out a positive signal to industry and investors, not many were willing to defend Sushil Kumar Shinde's ability to sustain the work carried out by the outgoing home minister.

Senior Congress leaders were especially perplexed by the decision to opt for a part-time power minister.  

"The timing is just inopportune. On a day when the country faced the biggest blackout, the minister in charge of power was promoted as the home minister," said a senior Congress leader, according to the ET report.  

The leader added that it was widely expected that the ministry would have a full-time minister as the prime minister himself had identified the power sector as an area of major concern for his government.

Another leader said the PM could correct this lapse when he looks at another reshuffle after the monsoon session of Parliament.