Ajit Singh likely to join UPA government as civil aviation minister

Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh is expected to be sworn in as the new civil aviation minister as the Congress-led UPA alliance at the center looks for new sources of regional strength to boost its national prospects at the polls.

Ajit Singh, who handed over a letter of support to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi this morning, is likely to be inducted into the cabinet on 14 December. The RLD has five members in the Lok Sabha.

With the RLD joining the coalition, UPA's strength has gone up from 272 to 277 MPs.

"Ajit Singh gave a letter to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi stating that RLD would like to join the alliance and the latter has agreed to this," Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said in New Delhi today.

The RLD is expected to contest 45 of the 403 seats in the 2012 polls for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in alliance with the Congress.

The Congress has been in talks with Ajit Singh, RLD leader and son of late Jat leader Charan Singh, for the last few months for an electoral tie-up in western Uttar Pradesh.

Reports, meanwhile, said Ajit Singh would rather look for a portfolio like agriculture, commerce or industry to better live up to the party's image than accept civil aviation.