New Delhi: The Congress today took a dig at the induction of four former bureaucrats in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet, calling the nine new ministers a "senior citizens club". Not sparing a shot at Uma Bharti for being divested of the Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation portfolio, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the BJP had "polluted" River Ganga with its sins.
Mr Tewari said that while the median age of a person in the country was 27 years, the average age of the new entrants in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet was 60.44 years.
To attack Uma Bharti, he turned to the title of a Hindi film, saying, "Ram teri Ganga maili ho gayi -- BJP ke paap dhote dhote (The Ganga has already been polluted by the sins of the BJP)."
Talking to the media, Mr Tewari claimed PM Modi was "strangely disconnected" from the Cabinet reshuffle exercise, and that it showed he did not trust his political colleagues.
"It seems that Amit Shah is the Prime Minister," he said, referring to reports that claimed the BJP President summoned ministers and asked them to resign before the rejig.
He also termed the expansion "maximum government and minimum governance".
The Cabinet reshuffle saw the induction of nine new faces. Among them were four former bureaucrats, two of whom -- former IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam and former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri -- are not Members of Parliament.
Ex-Mumbai Police Commissioner Satypal Singh and former Union Home secretary RK Singh have also been sworn in.
The Congress spokesperson took turns to attack all new appointees.
Referring to Ananthkumar Hegde, he also accused the BJP of including in the Cabinet a "doctor beater" with a motive to "communalise" Karnataka, ahead of the state assembly elections next year.
Earlier this year, a video surfaced in which Anantkumar Hegde, who was made minister of state in Skill Development, was seen allegedly beating up doctors in Karwar.
On the removal of Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Kalaraj Mishra as ministers for Skill Development and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises respectively, the Congress spokesperson said the ouster reflected an acceptance of the Modi government's "gigantic failure".
Referring to the elevation of Nirmala Sitharaman, who was promoted to the Cabinet rank and put in charge of the crucial Defence ministry, Mr Tewari said, "We hope she does not handle the Defence ministry the way she did the Commerce ministry, which saw a crippling decline of exports-imports during her tenure".
Nirmala Sitharaman is the first woman to become India's full-time Defence Minister.
The former Union minister termed the elevation in the rank of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi "mere tokenism" and said the BJP's attitude towards Muslims was "well known".