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Sushil Kumar Shinde, India's power minister, promoted to home minister in midst of electricity crisis

Sushil Kumar Shinde, India's power minister, was appointed as the new home minister in the middle of an enormous electricity crisis.

Sushil kumar shinde power minister india july 31 2012Enlarge
Indian Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde (L) and Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh (R) shake hands during a meeting in New Delhi on June 6, 2012. Shinde has been appointed the new home minister in the midst one of India's largest electricity crises. (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

India's power minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, was promoted to the post of home minister on Tuesday, while the country is in the midst of an electricity crisis that has left 600 million without power, according to the BBC.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Shinde said he had appealed to states to stop trying to draw more than their quota of power. He said, "I have also instructed my officials to penalize the states which overdraw from the grid."

Shinde will be replacing Palaniappan Chidambaram as home minister, while Chidambaram will take over the finance portfolio, according to Bloomberg. Veerappa Moily, currently minister for corporate affairs, will take over as power minister.

More on GlobalPost: Massive power grid failure affects millions across northern India

A Times of India opinion editorial said: "The timing of Sushil Kumar Shinde's appointment as home minister is bizarre. It is like changing the captain of the Titanic as the ship is sinking. India is today facing one of its worst power crises in several decades. Nineteen states were blacked out on Tuesday, for eight of them the second day in a row."

It continued, "If anything, this was a time to give Shinde room to tackle the crisis and even to beef up the resources available to him. His successor will be coming in groping in the dark and it will be probably weeks before he even figures out how grids work, leave alone provide any rudimentary leadership."

More on GlobalPost: Half of India hit by second power grid failure

According to the BBC, the power outages caused heavy disruption in nearly 20 states as hospitals ran on generators, defunct traffic lights caused traffic jams and metro trains stopped running.

Chidambaram returns to the finance ministry after he was moved to the home ministry in December 2008 in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, Times of India noted.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/120731/sushil-kumar-shinde-indias-power-minister-promoted-h