Prime Minister overhauls Indian cabinet

Featured India - October 29th, 2012
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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reshuffled his cabinet on Sunday in a bid to refurbish a government tainted by outdated leaders and corruption scandals ahead of general elections.

Singh reshuffled about a third of his 30-member Cabinet, including key posts such as oil, foreign policy, railways and justice, and introduced several new younger ministers, as the ruling Congress party seeks to drive long-demanded economic reforms.

Former minister of law and justice Salman Khurshid was named the new foreign minister, replacing S.M. Krishna. Veerappa Moily assumed the post of oil minister while Palaniappan Chidambaram will remain in his post as finance minister.

Analysts speculated that the reshuffle would be followed by a restructuring of the Congress party itself that would place Rahul Gandhi to a new post, reports the Financial Times.

Mr. Singh said he had wanted Mr. Gandhi in the Cabinet but that the Congress party general-secretary wanted to work for the party headed by his mother, Sonia Gandhi. Mr. Gandhi is expected to be the party’s candidate for prime minister in the 2014 election.

The main Hindu nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata party describes the reshuffle as “an exercise in vain”, claiming that the government had “lost its credibility: and should seek an early election. “I don’t see early elections. Elections will be held in due course,” Mr. Singh said in a statement.