Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal was on Monday given additional charge of the Telecom Ministry by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a development that takes the portfolio away from DMK – at least for the time being.
Official sources said Sibal will hold charge of the Ministry held by DMK's A Raja, who resigned on Sunday night facing allegations of irregularities in the 2-G spectrum allocation.
The arrangement is seen to be temporary in view of the ongoing Parliament session when issues related to the ministry are to be handled at the senior level, particularly at a time when the ministry is facing allegations of corruption of huge magnitude.
By tradition, a reshuffle of the Council of Ministers is not undertaken during a Parliament session.
Sibal, a renowned lawyer-turned-politician, was a week earlier given the additional charge of Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, which fell vacant after incumbent Prithviraj Chavan was made chief minister of Maharashtra.
In another decision, V Narayansamy, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, was given additional charge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which also fell vacant after Chavan's departure.
Commenting on the additional charge given to him, Kapil Sibal said any ministry when given is a challenge and decisions should be taken after proper thinking.
Reacting to the Prime Minister's move, DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu said party chief M Karunanidhi has not yet decided on a successor to A Raja and suggested that Sibal getting Telecom as additional charge could be a "stop-gap arrangement".