The Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu was given the additional charge of the Civil Aviation Ministry today. The post for Civil Aviation Minister was vacant following Ashok Gajapati Raju quit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers.
Raju and his party fellow Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader YS Chowdary quit the Modi cabinet following their party chief announced his decision to leave the National Democratic Alliance government over their ultimatum that Andhra Pradesh is provided Special Category Status. However, the TDP is yet to quit the NDA completely. Suresh Prabhu has served as the Railways Minister in past. He was reassigned to Commerce Ministry during Cabinet’s reshuffle last year. Following a number of high-profile accidents on the Indian Railways, Prabhu’s ministry took over by Piyush Goyal during the Cabinet reshuffle. In the impact of the accidents, Prabhu had recommended that he had offered to resign as the Railways Minister and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to ‘wait’.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan confirmed today that Prabhu has been given the additional charge of the aviation portfolio. “As advised by the Prime Minister, President Kovind has directed that Shri Suresh Prabhu, Cabinet Minister, shall be assigned charge of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, in addition to his existing portfolio,” the Rashtrapati Bhavan added. The official statement suggested that Prabhu’s appointment as Civil Aviation Minister was not for the intervening time. Suresh Prabhu’s main concern as Civil Aviation Minister will be disinvestment of national carrier Air India. The TDP quit the Modi Cabinet this week following days of speculation that party would leave the BJP alliance. On the other hand, the Centre government has refused to grant its demand for a Special Category Status, giving Constitutional hurdles, however promising financial support to the state.