There appears to be a deep crisis in the UPA government even before its trouble-shooter Pranab Mukherjee was declared elected as the President of the country.
After Pranab Mukherjee left the cabinet, the Congress has chosen to give the number 2 position of his to Defence Minister A K Antony, causing dismay to the NCPI leader Sharad Pawar. It is learnt that pained by the decision, both Pawar and his associate Praful Patel have sent in their resignations to the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.That the crisis started brewing on the very day when Rahul Gandhi, son of Sonia Gandhi announced his was readiness to take up greater responsibilities in the government, had added another dimension to the crisis.
Sharad Pawar was one of the two persons who had stoutly opposed Sonia Gandhi when Congress sought to make her the Prime Minister after Rajeev Gandhi’s death, on the ground of her nationality. The other leader was P A Sangma, who has contested as President against Pranab Mukherjee.
Though Sharad Pawar had opposed Sonia Gandhi, he veered round later and started playing a key role in the UPA politics. When Congress (or Sonia) chose the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee for the post of the President of India, he has instantly consented. He has also asked his colleague Sangma to withdraw from contest and when he refused, snapped ties with him. Sharad Pawar has also consented to support Dr. Hamid Ansari for the post of the Vice President, without any reservations.
It is a known fact that Sharad Pawar has aspired for the Prime Minister’s post as he was qualified enough to hold it. But even when he knew that it was not going to be possible for him to become the Prime Minister, he has been adopting an amicable attitude towards Congress and its supremo Sonia Gandhi.
When Pranab Mukherjee resigned to the post of Finance Minister and there by his Number 2 position in the cabinet, Sharad Pawar has naturally aspired for it. In the cabinet meeting held immediately after the resignation of Pranab, Sharad was seated next to the Prime Minister. His name figured as Number 2 in the website of the Prime Minister’s office. Defence Minister A K Antony was away touring his home state Kerala when that meeting took place.
However, when the Cabinet met again on the 12th of this month, A K Antony was shown the number 2 position and Sharad Pawar was shown the eighth seat in the cabinet hierarchy. Changes were also made in the PMO’s website suitably.
Now as Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that he would play a key role in the administration, every one is aware that he would get the Number 1 slot – the Prime Minister’s post after 2014 elections. Till then, he might occupy a key role.Sharad Pawar has possibly understood that he would not be offered any key role in the government even in the changed circumstances and equations.
Pawar has been unhappy since quite some time as the Congress leadership chose to reject his recommendations for some Gubernatorial appointments. Pawar has also been unhappy with some Congress leaders including minister Jai Ram Ramesh who have been critical about the style of functioning of Pawar as the Agriculture Minister.
It is being said that he had decided to quit the government and support the government from outside for the present before he made up his mind on what to do next.