Sibal gets communications and IT portfolio too

Monday, November 15, 2010

NEW DELHI - Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has been given additional charge of yet another ministry - this time communications and information technology portfolio in place of the DMK’s A. Raja, who stepped down Sunday night in the wake of the alleged 2G spectrum scam.

Last week, Sibal was given the science and technology portfolio after Prithviraj Chavan resigned from the cabinet to become the chief minister of Maharashtra.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique Monday said that President Pratibha Patil has on the recommendation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepted the resignation of Raja with immediate effect.

“Further, as advised by the Prime Minister of India, the President of India has directed that Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of Human Resource Development, shall be assigned the additional work of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology,” it said.

Sibal, a lawyer by profession, will be the first member of the Congress party to hold the portfolio in 14 years. In the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as also in its current tenure, the assignment was with the ally DMK.

“Every ministry is a challenge. I will seek to perform in any assignment that is given to me. I don’t want to comment on the reason why this portfolio has been given,” Sibal said when asked to comment on the circumstances in which he was assigned the portfolio.

Sibal, 62, represents Delhi’s Chandni Chowk constituency in the Lok Sabha. Educated at the prestigious St. Stephen’s College and the Harvard Law School, Sibal was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1998, after which he earned a berth into the Lok Sabha twice — in 2004 and 2009.

After adamantly refusing to resign, Raja quit the cabinet late Sunday night over the 2G spectrum controversy, ending an opposition-Congress standoff that, however, continues to paralyse parliament.

A day after Raja’s resignation, the opposition continued to demand a probe by a joint parliamentary committee, resulting in the adjournment of both houses of parliament again Monday.

The government has rejected the demand.

Filed under: Economy

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