New Delhi, July 12: BJP today slammed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not removing “tainted” ministers like P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal in the Cabinet reshuffle carried out “without much thought and consideration”.
“Normally a Cabinet reshuffle is undertaken to assess performance of ministers and to correct imbalance amongst states and alliance partners.... The reshuffle has been done without much thought and consideration,” Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter.
She said that instead of removing Sibal, whom the BJP had accused of favouring Reliance Communications by reducing the penalty from Rs 50 crore to Rs 5 crore, the Prime Minister has asked him to continue with the dual charge of Telecom and HRD.
“HRD and Telecom are both very important departments. After A Raja's ouster, Telecom was given as additional charge to the HRD minister temporarily. The Prime Minister has undermined the importance of these two departments. The temporary is now permanent,” Swaraj said.
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy described the reshuffle as a “damp squib” and insisted that the Prime Minister has failed to reassure the nation and dispel the “gloom shadowing the UPA government”.
“The Prime Minister's much acclaimed and awaited reshuffle has proven to be a damp squib. It is a futile exercise which inspires none and in no way dispels the gloom shadowing the embattled UPA government,” Rudy told PTI.
Singh today dropped five ministers and inducted 13 new faces into his Council of Ministers. However, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, whose removal BJP has been demanding, were left untouched.
“This is a wasted exercise which unreservedly attests that we have a dysfunctional government that is destined to sink. Apparently, the Prime Minister has failed to reassure the nation once again,” Rudy said.
He alleged that removal of Jairam Ramesh from the ministry of Environment and Forests was a “victory of vested corporate lobbies” and demanded an “honest clarification”.
Another BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said the reshuffle showed that the Prime Minister was “helpless” and his government has lost leadership and direction.
“The changes in the Cabinet show that the commitment to fight is lacking. The Prime Minister had earlier said he was bound by coalition compulsions. Today he appeared to be bending before Sonia Gandhi,” Hussain said.
He alleged that the UPA-II government was trying to “cover-up” corruption and this has been proved now as the Prime Minister has not shown the door to ministers involved in corruption.
“Chidambaram, who was then the Finance Minister, is equally responsible for the 2G spectrum scam. Sibal had favoured Reliance Communications by reducing the penalty from Rs 50 crore to Rs 5 crore. Two ministers were in the needle of suspicion in the Adarsh Society scam. But all of them will continue in the Cabinet and the PM has not been able to free himself from the tainted ministers,” Hussain said.
He said the fact that there was no minister from Bihar had disappointed the nine crore people of the state.
Swaraj rued that representation of Madhya Pradesh has come down in the Cabinet. “Madhya Pradesh has got a raw deal in this reshuffle. Kanti Lal Bhuria and Arun Yadav both have been dropped,” Swaraj said. PTI