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Dr Manmohan Singh’s richest ministers
Published on 31 May. 2009 11:34 PM IST
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The United Progressive Alliance government comprises 47 crorepati ministers. Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel is the richest of the lot with assets worth Rs 89.9 crore. In its report, the National Election Watch states that in the new government, Congress tops the list with 38 crorepatis while the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has 5, NCP-2 and National Conference and Trinamool Congress one crorepati minister each. The report also states that the average asset of ministers in this Lok Sabha is Rs 7.63 crore while that of the MPs in the new Lok Sabha is Rs 5.12 crore. Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee is the poorest with assets worth Rs 4 lakh. Praful Patel: Rs 89.9 crore: Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, who hails from Bhandara Gondiya in Maharashtra, is worth Rs 89,906,4977 (Rs 89.9 crore). Patel, who graduated from Mumbai’s Sydenham College prior to joining his family business, runs the Rs 500-crore CeeJay Group -- the biggest beedi and tobacco-derivative makers. He is also known as the Beedi King of Vidarbha. Preneet Kaur: Rs 42.3 crore: Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur is worth Rs 423,043,438 (Rs 42.3 crore). The Congress MP from Patiala in Punjab is the wife of former Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh and the daughter of former Punjab Chief Secretary Sr Gian Singh Kahlon. The former Maharani Sahiba from Patiala attended St Bede’s College and graduated from convent of Jesus and Mary, Shimla. Kapil Sibal: Rs 31.97 crore: Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has assets worth Rs 319,722,459 (Rs 31.97 crore). Elected from the Chandini Chowk constituency in New Delhi, Sibal was one of country’s topmost lawyers before he joined active politics. Sibal attended Harvard Law School and also served as the Additional Solicitor General of India. Vincent H Pala: Rs 25.16 crore: Minister of State in the Ministry of Water Resources Vincent H Pala has assets worth Rs 251,621,190 (Rs 25.16 crore). Pala was elected from the Shillong constituency in Meghalaya. A civil engineer by profession, he was an assistant engineer in the Public Works Department of his state. Pala, who is known as the trouble shooter for the Congress in Meghalaya, took voluntary retirement when he was the assistant chief engineer. Virbhadra Singh: Rs 22.52 crore: Minister of Steel Virbhadra Singh has assets worth Rs 225,228,748 (Rs 22.52 crore). Elected from Mandi constituency in Himachal Pradesh, Singh did his masters in arts in Shimla. Apart from being an honorary captain in the Indian Army, he was also an agriculturist and a horticulturist. He is a former cheif minister of HP. Fate of Congress old guards unclear With several of Congress’ old guards and loyalists left out of the Manmohan Singh Cabinet, it remains unclear whether they will be accommodated in gubernatorial or organisational posts or simply fade away into political oblivion. The fate of Arjun Singh, Hans Raj Bhardwaj, Sis Ram Ola, Shivraj Patil and Saifuddin Soz is being debated in party circles. All the five heavyweights, who are in their 70s, were cabinet ministers in the last Government. Party leaders are tightlipped about the any new assignments for these veterans in the twilight of their political career. Arjun Singh, who stirred a hornet’s nest by introducing 27 percent reservation for OBCs in central universities as the Union HRD Minister, was once a powerful Vice President of the Congress, a post which has been abolished. Asked whether the post of Vice President would be revived for Singh, a senior Congress leader dismissed the suggestion saying, “the party Constitution does not permit it”.

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