New Delhi, Jul 13: I requested him several times to join the Cabinet but he said he has responsibilities in the organisation, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when asked why Rahul Gandhi was not included in the reshuffle.
“I requested him several times to join the Cabinet but he has said he has responsibilities in the organisation," said Prime Minister.
Talking about Rahul Gandhi's recent "padayatra" (foot march) in Uttar Pradesh, the PM said that Rahul had undertaken the foot march in order to know the plight of the farmers.
“Most important people in terms of their contribution to national growth and agricultural production. Their contribution is enormous," he said.
He further said that the young AICC General Secretary was making an attempt to have a “better understanding" of farmers" problems.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also said that the reshuffle which took place on Jul 13 was the last one before the Lok Sabha polls that are scheduled in 2014, but two berths have been kept reserved for the DMK.
Talking about the reshuffle, the PM said it brought in the government, “balance necessary between various states, consideration of efficiency, consideration of continuity."
“As far as I am concerned, this is the last reshuffle before we go to polls (in 2014)," he said adding, “this exercise is as comprehensive as possible."
"There are bound to be problems when there is some re-distribution of portfolios. We have taken into account the best interests of the country," said the Prime Minister when asked if the reshuffle left ministers unhappy.
On the two cabinet berths that are kept on hold for the DMK, Singh commented, “It is part of our coalition dharma... I hope their decision will be coming soon."
Talking about Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's promotion to to the Rural development minister, PM said that the former was “given more extensive responsibility. His experience will be better utilised in this portfolio."