NEW DELHI: With the UPA-II Government in power, there’s hardly a dull moment. The capital was abuzz on Tuesday with two TV channels flashing news of resignation offers from four top Congress ministers.
Even as the government struggled to rein in its unruly Telangana MPs from disrupting the House on the second day of the second half of the Budget session, it was said that four ministers had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi offering their services for party work.
No sooner were the names - Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi - made public, Ravi went ballistic. He denied having ever written any letter to the Congress president expressing his willingness to be relieved from his not-so-meaty portfolio.
‘‘I’m really surprised. I have never written any such letter. The party made me the minister. Whenever I am entrusted with party work I do it along with my ministerial work. Many times I am sent to different states.....I’ve been asked to look after Andhra because Ghulam Nabi could not go.....I had to do some work,’’ Ravi said.
Though Khurshid had offered his service to revive the party’s flagging fortunes in the state, he had left it to Sonia Gandhi to decide whether he would continue with his Cabinet responsibilities. As for Azad, he was so busy fire-fighting on the T-issue that even his party colleagues in the Cabinet could not get in touch with him for a clarification. On Jairam Ramesh, of course, no one wanted to hazard a guess— neither his Cabinet colleagues nor a top Congress leader —whom the Express had contacted.
Playing down the entire episode, I&B Minister Ambika Soni said: “We’ve made it known to the Congress president that we are more than willing to work for the party....full time. It is for her to decide who she wants where.’’