Radia Tapes: (20090529-125818) Radia with N.K. Singh
Duration: 00:06:41; Aspect Ratio: 1.250:1; Lightness: 0.081; Volume: 0.223; Cuts per Minute: 2.543; Words per Minute: 157.061
"Mukesh swung it for him"-- N K Singh to Radia on Murli Deora getting a successive second term as the petroleum minister with support from Mukesh Ambani. Did Mukesh Ambani earn Murli Deora his second term as the petroleum minister? And has civil aviation minister Praful Patel worked more as a minister for Naresh Goyal (owner of Jet Airways)? This is what N.K. Singh tells Radia in the second part of their conversation where they discuss the new cabinet. "Murli's incompetence is proverbial", Singh says. But in a more worrying insight, he says that Murli Deora is always "busy trying to appease" questioners in Parliament so that "he can stay out of (uncomfortable question)."
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NKS: Yeah, we got it -
Niira: Sorry, the network went off...yeah, yeah.
NKS: So, I think that you know, uh, and uh, Jiten Prasad has made it good because he's got Petroleum as the NOS where he can do a lot because you see, the incompetence of Murali is proverbial.
Niira: Hmm -
NKS: Um...everytime the question comes up in any house of Parliament he is more busy trying to appease that questioner to see if he can stay out...I mean, uh, (chuckles), but I think that perhaps Mukesh has swung it for him.
NKS: I mean uh, the continuity in the Petroleum ministry.
NKS: But uh Murali is an incompetent minister, he may be a good man. So hopefully there's a chance for Jiten Prasad to do something.
NKS: And uh, that's the other comment I have. Otherwise, in terms of the Finance ministry pretty much uh I was all the time uh - I was all the time convinced that Montek will not make it.
Niira: Yeah, that I - that was right, yeah.
NKS: Because he tried much earlier for the (inaudible), you know, during the transition, and didn't cut ice. And in any case this time pitted against Pranab there was no chance.
Niira: No chance. But what about Planning Commission, will he go back to that?
NKS: Yeah yeah, he's been told that he'll go back. And they will try to do some uh...do some cosmetic changes there, here and there. So uh...he'll go back there and buy time. I mean the best bet for him would be if he can try the Rajya Sabha ticket of Jayprakash Agarwal which is the one seat in Delhi which will be vacant.
NKS: And if he can't do that then in August there are several...uh, seven nominated MPs whose posts are falling vacant.
NKS: One of them is Vimal Jalan.
NKS: And unhesitatingly Montek is as much of a professional economist as Vimal.
NKS: And and uh so I think that he can you know, try for that. Of course, if you become a nominated MP you cannot become -
Niira: - Hold office.
NKS: - You cannot become a minister.
Niira: Minister, that's right, yeah.
NKS: (inaudible) will prevent him from being a Deputy Chairman.
NKS: Uh, uh, so uh, that's the thing there. So to be seen and watched. Jairam has got a very good assignment. Jairam Ramesh, I spoke to him in the morning, and uh Environment and Forest is going to be a very important responsibility in the next two years with Copenhagen, and the world in general becoming more conscious about uh global warming and expecting us to undertake lot (inaudible) so that's that.
Niira: Is he happy with it, I was told that he may not be happy with that.
NKS: He is very happy.
Niira: He is, is it? Coz -
NKS: He is very happy. He - because he has got...I mean, you know, if he would have shot for the independent charge of power there would be no -
NKS: No way, till Shinde was around.
NKS: Uh, till Shinde was around he couldn't tip Shinde into it. But let me tell you there are couple of things in this. One, there is a degree of temporariness in this because I think that the sparring between the NCP and Congress will increase in the next two months as you draw close to the Maharashtra elections, right?
Niira: Mmmhmm, mmhmm.
NKS: As it is yesterday on the television, there was sparring between Prithviraj Chauhan and Praful. By the way, Praful would be very unhappy.
Niira: Mm, he is, he is, by the look of things, yeah.
NKS: Because any old guy has been given an elevation, leg-up, but he hasn't kept - I mean he could have been made Cabinet Minister for Civil Aviation.
Niira: No but he's destroyed the sector, I'm sorry, I mean I do have a view about it. I don't think he's done justice to the sector.
NKS: No! I think that he has worked as a minister for Mr. Naresh Goyal.
Niira: Naresh Goyal, yes, and now Vijay Mallya, you know, and that's it. I mean, look at the National Carriers and -
NKS: - And the National Carriers has gone in decline, and he cannot brush off this charge uh very likely, in my view.
NKS: Uh...and uh, they should have really shuffled him around, I mean, uh...But I guess they didn't want - I guess this shuffle will come depending on the dynamics in the next two months on how they do the Maharashtra thing, so this is one area to be watched, what happens in Maharashtra. The other area to be watched is the somewhat mercurial behaviour of Mamta.
NKS: She's (inaudible) disinvestment, privatisation, so...I mean she may act as a carrier of many of the ideas which were earlier attributed to the Left.
NKS: So, that's that. Their interest in us continues in a manner of things, because Jairam asked me what is JDU actually deciding to do. And the fact that they have virtually zero presence from Bihar is indication of keeping uh...
Niira: The door open.
NKS: Yeah. Because you see, they had an option of taking Laloo and uh, Raghuvansh, they didn't, (they) kept the door open, they had the option of taking that fellow Digvijay Singh who won as an independent-open but didn't.
NKS: So uh, that option remains open but we have to make up our mind and the strategy which is, we're gonna brainstorm, you and me, one of these days, okay?
Niira: Okay, sure, sure.
NKS: So I thought I'd -
Niira: That'd be great, yeah. Okay, I'm away for the weekend, I'm going to Vaishnodevi, but I'm - I've just got back from Bombay yesterday night, so I'll be in Delhi all next week so you can let me know.
NKS: Okay...how is your son?
Niira: Oh he's fine, he's much better...yes he's very fine, thank you.
NKS: Well give him my best wishes, I was very pleased to meet him that day.
Niira: Thank you so much. He's in Bombay, he's started work there so that's good.
Niira: Thank you!
NKS: Have a good darshan, when you get back from Vaishnodevi, give a ring, Niira and we'll -
Niira: I'll do that, most definitely.
NKS: And your people are doing a fabulous job on the, on the (inaudible) and publicity part -