The 16th Lok Sabha has 143 agriculturists and eight farmers as MPs. Former Congress MP Kishore Chandra Deo — who was the Tribal Affairs Minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet — would have figured in this list had he won the elections this time.
However, with his party out of power at the Centre, the former UPA minister is planning to shift to his hometown in Andhra Pradesh and get back to farming. Deo says he has 10 acres of agricultural land where he will grow paddy. Deo is not the only UPA minister who is planning to pursue an apolitical career. Most of the lawyer-turned-ministers are already back to practising law, while some others are either pursuing their interests or taking up other vocations.
Girija Vyas, for instance, has already started penning a story. The former housing and urban poverty alleviation minister has authored several books on Indian philosophy, politics and religion. She has also dabbled in poetry in Urdu, Hindi and English.
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Former HRD minister Pallam Raju – who is also from Andhra Pradesh – is planning to try his hand at business. An engineer by profession, Raju says he will devote time to entrepreneurial interests besides pursing his hobbies.
Former minority affairs minister K Rahman Khan continues to don the role of a politician and an educationist. A Rajya Sabha MP, he is also the chairman of the K K Educational and Charitable Trust which runs Delhi Public Schools in Bangalore besides two colleges. He divides his time between Bangalore and Delhi. The lawyer-turned-ministers, meanwhile, are back to courts. And some of them are performing organisational activities as well.
Salman Khurshid, for instance, spent about an hour at the Congress headquarters on Akbar Road last week. A member of the editorial board of Congress Sandesh – the party’s mouthpiece – he sat with its editor Girija Vyas giving finishing touches to the next edition. It is not that the former external affairs minister has too much of free time in his hands now.
Khurshid has already appeared for former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal and got his bail extended. Khurshid – once the law minister – also has many commercial cases to argue. Besides, he is set to appear for Pradeep Shukla – the prime accused in the alleged multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam.
Former Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily has opened an office of his law firm in Delhi and is set to practice in the SC. In the last one month, Moily has also completed two books Quest for Justice and Quest for Governance which are expected to hit the stands by August. He is now working on a third book Beyond the Frontiers of Knowlege.
Former law minister Kapil Sibal and former I&B minister Manish Tewari too have renewed their bar licences. Sibal is said to have agreed to appear for the Birlas in the Birla vs Lodha case. Tewari is also writing a weekly column for an English newspaper.
Most of the other UPA Ministers are sticking to full time politics, but are finding time to read and revive their social networks. Former Defense Minister A K Antony, for instance, is in the thick of action as he heads the all-important introspection panel of the party.
Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia have the onerous task of leading the Congress in Parliament, while young guns like Sachin Pilot are burning the midnight oil to revive the Congress in Rajasthan.