New Delhi: Congress party president Sonia Gandhi has asked top colleagues not to include any non-politician in the cabinet, a party leader said.
Gandhi has given clear instructions that Manmohan Singh’s cabinet of ministers, which is scheduled to take oath on Friday, should not have any representation from outside political circles, the leader said on condition of anonymity.
Business of politics: The chances of Pranab Mukherjee retaining the finance ministry have increased after the Congress chief’s move. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
This decision rules out the possibility of former Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and C. Rangarajan being inducted into the cabinet. These two names emerged as possible candidates for the post of finance minister.
This decision also enhances the chance of Pranab Mukherjee continuing as finance minister. Another Congress leader, Kapil Sibal, is being considerd for the post of external affairs minister.
This leader also said 50 people are expected to take the oath as ministers on Friday.
Meanwhile, Manmohan Singh, who was appointed prime minister by President Prathiba Patil on Wednesday, Gandhi, Mukherjee and other senior leaders held discussions separately with pre-poll allies who are expected to find representation in the government.
The Trinamool Congress party—which has 20 members of Parliament and is the largest ally of the Congress—has sought any two cabinet berths from among the railways, information technology, telecom and rural development ministries.
Another Congress leader said Singh has insisted that leaders with serious allegations of corruption against them should not be appointed ministers. This partyman, too, declined to be named.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance did better than expected in the general election and is set to form a stable government that will no longer be vulnerable to pressures from the Left parties. This could potentially allow the coalition to spped up economic reforms.
Singh on Tuesday said his government would revive growth and spread the benefits of economic expansion.
“We have to revive growth and make it even more inclusive,” he said.