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Controversy Over Jaipal Reddy's Transfer From Oil Ministry
The shifting of S Jaipal Reddy from Petroleum Ministry and elevation
of Salman Khurshid today kicked up a political storm with parties
suspecting the government of coming under corporate pressure and
accusing it of promoting those facing corruption charges.
70-year-old Reddy, who was made Petroleum Minister in
January 2011, maintained he has no regrets over losing Petroleum but
some wry answers he gave at a press conference indicated his apparent
As BJP and civil society leaders attacked the Prime
Minister's decision to take Reddy out of Petroleum Minister, the Andhra Pradesh veteran kept
away when his successor M Veerappa Moily took charge of the portfolio
Reddy himself assumed charge of Science and Technology in the evening
before which Moily came to his residence and held consultations with him
in an apparent bid to assuage his feelings.
"Many a times it
happens (that) you avoid taking decisions. That is not a solution.
Avoiding or delaying decision is not a solution. And this is where we
need to very seriously work on," Moily said on taking over in remarks
interpreted as oblique reference to Reddy's stint.
said, would be taken keeping national interest in mind and not to
"benefit one or two individuals or companies." He promised quick
decisions and a conducive environment for investment to flow-in.
who kept away from journalists the whole of yesterday and most part of
today, denied he was unhappy about the shift. He said the Prime Minister
took him into confidence about the change in portfolio and "that was
enough for me." He, however, gave no reasons for the decision.
minister is ever told about the reasons for the change. And I personally
feel the Prime Minister need not tell a minister about the reasons for
change," Reddy said adding he would stick to norms and forms of a
"In all matters, it has been my effort to be a faithful
party man and a truthful minister. My record will always be a faithful
party man. That is my focus and that shall be my focus," he said.
He said formation of Cabinet is exclusively privilege of the Prime Minister who has to respond to dynamic situations.
"My relationship with Prime Minister is excellent. He has always shown implicit faith and affection for me," he said.
point blank whether he was happy or unhappy, he said, "I was never
happy at getting Petroleum then. Similarly I am not unhappy at losing
Petroleum portfolio now."
"All my life I have taken positions on
issues. I have taken positions on ideological issues. I have not taken
positions on portfolio," he said.
To a question why he was not
present when Moily took charge, he said, "I am not an officer to hand
over charge. I did not allow (Murli) Deora to handover charge (in
January 2011) to me. I did not know Moily would be taking charge. I was
told he was coming to see me."
"You are free to indulge in
fertile imagination. Without your fertile imagination the world would
not be as interesting," he told journalists.
pressure from corporates was the reasons for his shift from Petroleum
Ministry, Reddy said he was not used to making comments about his
"When I changed to Information and
Broadcasting to Urban Development, I have never spoken on I&B.
Similarly, when I changed from urban development to Petroleum, I never
made comments on earlier portfolios," he said.
To another question whether his honesty was a negative factor, he shot back saying honesty was not his monopoly.
about decisions kept pending my him in Petroleum Ministry, Reddy said
the government is the same and "that job will be handed by my
Chiding journalists, Moily said, "What you are
reporting is absolutely baseless. Reddy has done a wonderful job and set
highest standards of probity in administration."
"Portfolios do change. I have seen three portfolio changes, does it mean I have been downgraded," he asked.
a question whether activism over Telangana, Reddy said, "UPA government
has not taken any position and you should not confuse the two issues."
Sharp comments came against yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle from government's outside supporter Samajwadi Party, which raised questions about the elevation of Khurshid as External Affairs Minister and the continuation of a minister allegedly involved in Coal scam.
"Khurshid has been upgraded in a way and he has been made the External Affairs Minister. If a minister is accused of graft, he should be taken out. A minister who was supposed to be removed, who was directly involved in coal scam, he is still there.
"Good people should have been promoted," senior Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav said.
Khurshid, who has denied the allegations of wrongdoing, said he would not like to comment on the issue regarding the NGO run by him and his wife because the matter is in court.
BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu attacked the decision to move Reddy out of
Petroleum saying people and media have said that this was done due to
pressure of corporate groups. He demanded an answer from the government.
Reacting to media reports about Reddy, activist Arvind Kejriwal alleged
that the UPA government was promoting corrupt people while throwing out
"Why did Jaipal Reddy lose his job? For resisting Reliance?...So, LPG and power prices set to rise?," he tweeted.
said Reddy, who is known to be honest has been "kicked out" while
Khurshid, against whom there are allegations of bungling of funds for
disabled has been "promoted".
"It appears that the government is
sending out a message that whoever does more corruption, he will get
promotions and if you work honestly, you will not be spared... That's
UPA," he alleged.
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