Joshi likely to retain railway ministry this time

C. P. Joshi Minister of Road Transport and Highways C P Joshi, who formally took over the railways portfolio as additional charge for a second time today, is likely to retain it this time.

Joshi was entrusted with the portfolio after the departure of Pawan Kumar Bansal. Party sources said in all likelihood, Joshi will retain the ministry this time, as he enjoys the confidence of Rahul Gandhi, who is now the No. 2 in the party as the Congress vice-president. “Now that both the prime minister’s men — Bansal and (law minister) Ashwani Kumar — have been forced to quit, it’s unlikely that Manmohan Singh will get to appoint a person of his choice as the rail minister,” said a party leader, requesting anonymity.

Joshi held the rail portfolio for about a month in September last year, after the Trinamool Congress (TMC) pulled out of the United Progressive Alliance.

Joshi enjoys considerable clout within the party. Soon after taking charge this time, Joshi tweeted: “I thank my leaders for showing faith in me. Will perform my new role as railways minister to the best of my ability- CPJ.”

Elected as MLA four times, this is his first stint as a member of Parliament; he is a senior, though, having head of the party unit in Rajasthan.

He was elected from Bhilwara in Rajasthan in 2009, entrusted with the rural development ministry and then was shifted to the road, transport and highways ministry.