NEW DELHI, Jan 17 � With Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh all set to reshuffle his Council of Ministers, the race for a berth among the MPs of the North-East has began.
Initial indications are that Assam may get an additional ministerial berth ahead of the Assembly elections. The probable include Paban Singh Ghatowar though a minority MP might also be opted for as a goodwill gesture to the State�s electorate.
Ghatowar, on the other hand, has the advantage of being backed by INTUC, besides his performance as the party�s PRO for Uttar Pradesh has won accolades in 10 Jana Path. He is currently the ruling Party�s chief whip in Lok Sabha, while Narah is also a whip.
Among the names doing the rounds is that of Ranee Narah, though Rajya Sabha MP Nazeen Faruqui is also reportedly lobbying for a MoS berth, sources said.
Ranee Narah had lobbied hard for a berth when the UPA II was being sworn in but could not make it in 2009. The other probable was PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita, who also failed to make it to the ministry. This time though his chances are limited given the pending Assembly elections, disclosed sources.
Congress MP from Barak Valley Lalitmohan Suklabaidya is lobbying for a berth, as the UPA-II has no representative from the Valley.
Sources said from the Hill States, Rajya Sabha MP Mukut Mithi is tipped for a ministerial berth, amidst report that the Prime Minister might go for massive reshuffle of his ministry. The UPA-II ally, BPF is also demanding a berth in the ministry from its quota. BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary had taken up the issue with both UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister. The party has one MP each in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Meanwhile, Urdu media has reported that AUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal is also eying a berth in the Ministry. However, Congress sources ruled out the possibility pointing out the stiff opposition likely to be put up by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.