Union Minister of State Srikanth Jena on Tuesday suggested that coalition compulsions have blocked his promotion but made it clear that he will not quit.
He said he would take up the matter with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and highlight his seniority in politics and “views of people of Odisha” on lack of representation in the Cabinet.
“It is Prime Minister’s prerogative as to whom to make minister and what assignment to give,” Mr. Jena told reporters in New Delhi after the announcement of reshuffle in which he retained the portfolio and was additionally given Minister of State with independent charge of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
“In this kind of coalition, there are compulsions... I have no choice... I will perform whatever responsibility given to me by the Prime Minister,” said Mr. Jena.
He had reluctantly assumed office as MoS in 2009, contending that it was a demotion for him as he had served as Cabinet Minister in the United Front government in 1996.
Sources close to Mr. Jena on Tuesday said that he was not happy as he had hoped for elevation to Cabinet rank.
Mr. Jena said that he would talk to Dr. Singh and Ms. Gandhi again about his seniority in politics and views of people of Orissa on the lesser representation to the State.
“I have been telling them about this and will again draw their attention on this,” he said.
Asked whether he had any chance in the future of being elevated to Cabinet, he said, “In politics, no doors are closed.”
To a question whether he would quit, he shot back, “Why should I quit. The question does not arise... Why should I sulk?”