In a huge disappointment for Odisha Congress, neither Union Minister of State (Independent charge) Srikant Jena was promoted to Cabinet nor any other MP from the State inducted into Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ministry, which was expanded today.
Jena, who was a Cabinet minister in I K Gujral government at the Centre, had been waiting for long to return to the top rank.
Similarly, Nabarangpur MP Pradip Majhi’s name was also doing the rounds as a new face in the UPA government. But the speculations of Majhi making his debut as a Union minister proved wrong at the end of the day.
“We had expected a Cabinet berth for Srikant Jena apart from a new minister from Odisha. But finally, taking a decision on this is a prerogative of the party high-command and PM Manmohan Singh,” OPCC president Jayadev Jena said.
Former State Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik also expressed surprise at the development.
“We had been anticipating greater representation of Congress MPs from the Sate in the Union ministry. But it is upsetting to know that such prospects did not turn into a reality,” Patnaik said.
Eight new faces, four Cabinet ministers and as many ministers of State, took oath at Rashtrapati Bhawan following their induction into the Union ministry.
While Sis Ram Ola, Oscar Fernandes, Girija Vyas and K S Rao were appointed as Cabinet ministers, Santosh Chowdhury, J D Seelam, E N S Nachiappan and Manikrao Gavit were chosen as ministers of State.