Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake the reshuffle of the Union Cabinet on Sunday to fill the major vacancies and bring in new faces, after several days of discussion on the issue. A performance review of ministers was reportedly submitted to PM Modi ahead of cabinet reshuffle.
According to the sources, BJP Chief Amit Shah returned to the capital today after attending a crucial coordination meeting with various RSS outfits in Vrindavan, and he and Modi were giving final touches to the changes.
While carrying out the reshuffle, Modi is also likely to keep an eye on upcoming state elections in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Karnataka and his party’s re-election bid in 2019.
Nine new union ministers, all from the BJP, are expected to take oath today, among them four former administrators. Four ministers including Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal will be elevated to Cabinet rank. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to appoint new Defence and Railways ministers, but names have not been released. There are no new ministers from the Janata Dal United or any another BJP ally.
The Prime Minister will meet his new ministers for breakfast at 9 am, ahead of the oath ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan at 10:30 this morning.
The nine ministers who are expected to be inducted include Shiv Pratap Shukla (Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh), Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Lok Sabha MP from Buxar, Bihar), Virendra Kumar (Lok Sabha MP from Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh), Anant Kumar Dattatreya Hegde (Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada), R K Singh (Lok Sabha MP from Arrah, Bihar), Hardeep Singh Puri (ex-diplomat), Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur), Satyapal Singh (Lok Sabha MP from Baghpat), and Alphons Kannanthanam (ex-bureaucrat).
The new ministers come from varied walks of life, bringing in their unique professional perspective and proficiency to the Council. Many of them also bring rich administrative and governance experience, and will be strategically placed in key ministries, especially focusing on last-mile delivery directly to the people, a government source said.
Speculation swirls over the likely defence minister and names of Suresh Prabhu and Nitin Gadkari are doing the rounds. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is currently holding the additional charge of defence and he has already given indication that he would like to shed charge of the defence.
Sources said, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad could get a new ministry Agriculture. Minister Radha Mohan Singh could be shifted to another department. Sources said that Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, who refused to comment on reports of her resignation, is unlikely to be dropped from cabinet and may be assigned to another ministry.
The exact nature of the reshuffle and the distribution of portfolios, including if the nine get Cabinet, MoS (Independent Charge) or Minister of State rank, will only be made clear after the swearing-in, as per sources.
However, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the participation of the BJP allies such as JD(U) and Shiv Sena in the reshuffle.
The chances of the AIADMK joining the government also appeared slim. The AIADMK, dogged by internal troubles, can prove to be a stumbling block in its joining the government.
The six ministers who have resigned since Thursday are Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjeev Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Kalraj Mishra, Mahendra Nath Pandey and Bandaru Dattatreya. Some are expected to be re-assigned to key roles within the BJP ahead of the 2019 national election. Mr Pandey has already become the party’s UP chief.
In continuance of the track record of identifying his fellow team members on the merit of their past Performance and future Potential, the new ministers have been selected by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a clear mandate to deliver on his vision of a New India.
The current strength of the council of ministers, including the prime minister, is 73 and the maximum number of ministers cannot go beyond 81.According to a constitutional amendment, the limit cannot exceed beyond 15 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha which is 545.
After assuming office in May 2014, Modi expanded his council of ministers twice first on November 9 in 2014 and then on July 05 in 2016. As per the reports of PTI, this might be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third and probably last major recasting of his council of ministers before the next Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
A vision which is built on the foundations of Development and Good Governance, and with a focus on the Garib, Shoshit, Peedit and Vanchit segments of our society.
The new Ministers are going to be strategically placed in key Ministries, especially focusing on last mile delivery directly to the people.