New Delhi: The shifting of S Jaipal Reddy from Petroleum Ministry on Monday created a political storm with the decision coming under attack and the minister himself is said to be unhappy over being moved to Science and Technology Ministry. (Agencies)
70-year-old Reddy, who was made Petroleum Minister in January 2011, maintained he has no regrets over losing Petroleum but some wry answers he gave at a press conference indicated his apparent sulk.
As BJP and civil society leaders attacked the Prime Minister's decision to take Reddy out of Petroleum Minister as having been dictated by corporate pressure, the Andhra Pradesh veteran kept away when his successor M Veerappa Moily took charge of the portfolio this morning.
Reddy himself assumed charge of Science and Technology in the evening before which Moily came to his residence and held consultations with him in an apparent bid to assuage his feelings.
"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," Moily said on taking over in remarks interpreted as oblique reference to Reddy's stint.
Decisions, he said, would be taken keeping national interest in mind and not to "benefit one or two individuals or companies." He promised quick decisions and a conducive environment for investment to flow-in.
Reddy, who kept away from journalists the whole of on Sunday and most part of on Monday, denied he was unhappy about the shift. He said the Prime Minister took him into confidence about the change in portfolio and "that was enough for me." He, however, gave no reasons for the decision.
BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu attacked the decision to move Reddy out of Petroleum saying people and media have said that this was done due to pressure of corporate groups. He demanded an answer from the government.
Anti corruption activist, Arvind Kejriwal alleged that an honest minister like Reddy lost his job for resisting Reliance Industries.
"No minister is ever told about the reasons for the change. And I personally feel the Prime Minister need not tell a minister about the reasons for change," Reddy said adding he would stick to norms and forms of a minister.
"In all matters, it has been my effort to be a faithful party man and a truthful minister. My record will always be a faithful party man. That is my focus and that shall be my focus," he said.
He said formation of Cabinet is exclusively privilege of the Prime Minister who has to respond to dynamic situations.
"My relationship with Prime Minister is excellent. He has always shown implicit faith and affection for me," he said.
Asked point blank whether he was happy or unhappy, hesaid, "I was never happy at getting Petroleum then. Similarly I am not unhappy at losing Petroleum portfolio now."
"All my life I have taken positions on issues. I have taken positions on ideological issues. I have not taken positions on portfolio," he said.
To a question why he was not present when Moily took charge, he said, "I am not an officer to hand over charge. I did not allow (Murli) Deora to handover charge (in January 2011) to me. I did not know Moily would be taking charge. I was told he was coming to see me."
"You are free to indulge in fertile imagination. Without your fertile imagination the world would not be as interesting," he told journalists.
Asked whether pressure from corporates was the reasons for his shift from Petroleum Ministry, Reddy said he was not used to making comments about his previous ministries.
"When I changed to Information and Broadcasting to Urban Development, I have never spoken on I&B. Similarly, when I changed from urban development to Petroleum, I never made comments on earlier portfolios," he said.
To another question whether his honesty was a negative factor, he shot back saying honesty was not his monopoly.
Asked about decisions kept pending my him in Petroleum Ministry, Reddy said the government is the same and "that job will be handed by my successor."
Chiding journalists, Moily said, "What you are reporting is absolutely baseless. Reddy has done a wonderful job and set highest standards of probity in administration."
"Portfolios do change. I have seen three portfolio changes, does it mean I have been downgraded," he asked.
To a question whether activism over Telangana, Reddy said, "UPA government has not taken any position and you should not confuse the two issues."
New Delhi: The shifting of S Jaipal Reddy from Petroleum Ministry on Monday created a political storm with the decision coming under attack and the minister himself is said to be unhappy over being moved to Science and Technology Ministry.