Who’s the number two in UPA-II? After former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s departure from the government, this is the million dollar question, swirling in power circles here. But, if any one is looking for an answer on the Prime Minister’s official website, they are likely to be disappointed. The page on the website — the Prime Minister’s team — which has the list of ministers, has curiously gone missing. In the more or less blank page that usually contains the names of Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State with Independent charge and Ministers of State, it has just four words MoS (Independent charge) and MoS. The PMO, it seems, pulled out the list to “reconstruct” the page. And, pray why? Apparently, for two reasons — first of all, it has not been decided whose name will follow the Prime Minister’s, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s or Defence Minister A K Antony’s. Whoever, comes after the PM, is the second-in-command, a role that Mukherjee played. Secondly, after P A Sangma and his team raked up the office-of-profit controversy on the basis of the Indian Statistical Institute’s website which “forgot to remove” the former FM’s name as chairman, the PMO thought it better to get the webpage reworked.
However, this may be a diversionary tactic.