NEW DELHI, June 23 � A delegation of the State Congress ministers and MLAs under the banner of the State Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) today called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi to press for more representation of Assam MPs in UPA-II �Ministry.
The 11-member delegation led by senior tea community leader and State Minister Prithibi Majhi included State Minister Pradyut Bordoloi, MLAs Etuwa Munda, Raju Sahu, Rajendra Singh, Susanta Buragohain, Pallab Lochan Das, among others, besides four INTUC members.
The delegation, which had given identical petitions to the Prime Minister, Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and other senior Congress leaders, underlined the need to induct another Congress leader of the State into the Dr Manmohan Singh Ministry. The delegation is lobbying for inclusion of Lok Sabha MP and Asam Chah Mazdoor Sangh leader Paban Singh Ghatowar in the Council of Ministry.
Presence of only one MP from the State in the UPA �II Ministry gives a wrong signal to the Congress supporters, which other parties like BJP is taking advantage of in the tea belt, a member of the delegation told this newspaper.
The delegation, which also submitted a memorandum to the Congress president, referred to the overwhelming response of the tea voters to the Congress Party, returning a record number of candidates.
Earlier, last week Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had also called on Gandhi and reportedly raised the growing demand within the Party for another face in the Central ministry.
On Sunday, the Congress president and the Prime Minister held a closed-door meeting that lasted for over two hours and apparently discussed the next Cabinet expansion ahead of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament that gets under way from August 1. Several of the ministries are lying vacant and some of the prominent troubleshooters of the UPA-II regime like Union Minister Kapil Sibal are saddled with two vital Central ministries.
Indications are that the Prime Minister might go for a Cabinet reshuffle during the first week of next month. Confusion in DMK rank over its ties with the ruling Congress Party following the arrest of former Telecom Minister A. Raja and DMK chief�s daughter Kanimozhi in the 2G scam led to the delay in the long-pending reshuffle.