New Delhi: Apparently upset over not being
elevated to Cabinet rank, Srikant Jena on Wednesday kept everyone
guessing as to whether he would assume charge as Minister of
State for Statistics and Programme Implementation with
Jena remained at his home but incommunicado, with his
staff saying he was scheduled to go to Odisha either this
evening or tomorrow morning in connection with the rally of
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in the state.
Officials in the Statistics and Programme Implementation
ministry said no function regarding assumption of office by
the new minister was scheduled for today.
Hoping for elevation to Cabinet rank, Jena had yesterday
suggested that coalition compulsion had blocked his promotion.
However, he made it clear that he will not quit the
Council of Ministers and that he would talk to Congress
President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
highlighting his seniority in politics and "views of people of
Odisha" on lack of representation in the Cabinet.
Jena, who was a Cabinet Minister in United Front
government in 1996, feels a Cabinet berth would suit his
profile and stature as he has been four-time MP.