Krishna resigns ahead of Cabinet reshuffle

Krishna

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna resigned on Friday, two days before Sunday's scheduled cabinet reshuffle. In his resignation letter sent to the Prime Minister, Krishna was learnt to have said that he wanted to make way for younger people, and that he did not want another ministerial post.

Krishna added that he had always benefited from the Congress party, and would work as its loyal soldier.

There has been sustained speculation about the 80-year-old minister's exit from the cabinet. He has been prone to diplomatic faux pas, which has included reading out a portion of the Portuguese foreign minister's speech at the UN in February 2011. 

On Thursday, the Karnataka Lokayukta court ordered an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project under three former chief ministers including Krishna.

Krishna's resignation has produced a vacancy in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the contenders for which include HRD and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Law Minister Salman Khurshid.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday evening to discuss Krishna's replacement and finalise the lists of new ministers, promotions and changes in portfolio.

While Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi remains unlikely to join the government, that he has participated in the deliberations over the reshuffle suggests that the council of ministers could have a more youthful look.

Ministers of State Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and Jitin Prasada might hope for a promotion. Younger MPs like Meenakshi Natarajan, Pradeep Majhi, Manicka Tagore, Jyoti Mirdha and Manish Tewari are among ministerial hopefuls.

Chiranjeevi, who merged his Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress, is likely to be rewarded with a ministerial berth. Two other MPs from Andhra Pradesh — P Balram Naik of Mahabubabad and K J Surya Prakash Reddy of Kurnool — were said to have got calls from the Cabinet Secretariat asking them to be in New Delhi on Sunday.

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