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Updated: October 30, 2012 02:16 IST

PM owes an explanation on shifting Jaipal Reddy: BJP, SP

B. Muralidhar Reddy
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The former Minister for Oil and Natural Gas, Jaipal Reddy, interacting with media after taking charge as Minister for Science and Technology in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The HIndu The former Minister for Oil and Natural Gas, Jaipal Reddy, interacting with media after taking charge as Minister for Science and Technology in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Avoiding or delaying decision is not a solution, says Moily

A day after S. Jaipal Reddy was shunted out of the Petroleum Ministry, the principal opposition party, the BJP, and the Samajwadi Party have charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress with buckling under pressure from an influential industrial house.

The shifting of Mr. Reddy to the Science and Technology Ministry is largely perceived as a move to appease the Reliance Group of Industries as the Minister had stood up to the industrial group.

The BJP and the SP on Monday demanded an explanation from Dr. Singh on why an honest Minister like Mr. Reddy had been hounded out while those who faced allegations of misdemeanour had been promoted.

Anti-corruption activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal and social activist Swami Agnivesh were more forthright, saying the Prime Minister was promoting corruption and protecting the interests of industrial houses.

Mr. Reddy’s successor Veerappa Moily unwittingly confirmed that his predecessor had been moved out suggesting that the decision-making process in the Ministry had slowed down.

“Many a times it happens [that] you avoid taking decisions. That is not a solution. Avoiding or delaying decision is not a solution. And this is where we need to very seriously work on,” Mr. Moily said on taking over, in remarks interpreted as oblique reference to Mr. Reddy’s stint. SP leader Ramgopal Yadav questioned the propriety of elevating Ministers like Salman Khurshid, who faced charges of misappropriation of funds by an NGO run by his wife, and retaining a Minister (Beni Prasad Verma) accused of involvement in a coal scam.

The former BJP president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, said Dr. Singh owed an explanation on the shifting of Mr. Reddy as it was perceived as a decision taken under pressure from industrial groups.

“A person like him was suddenly removed and was placed in an [unimportant] Science and Technology [Ministry]. People and media are saying that this was done due to the pressure of industrial groups. The government should give an answer. This is an important issue. What was the reason behind his removal?”

Mr. Kejriwal alleged that the UPA government was promoting corrupt people while throwing out honest men. “Why did Jaipal Reddy lose his job? For resisting Reliance? ... So, LPG and power prices set to rise?,” he tweeted.

He said Mr. Reddy, who is known for honesty, had been “kicked out” while Mr. Khurshid, against whom there were allegations of bungling of funds for the disabled, had been “promoted.”

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