Several new faces, including some from the BJP’s allies, are expected to join the government when Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertakes a reshuffle of his council of ministers on Sunday.
It will be the third such exercise since he took over in May 2014.
“A process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan at around 10 am on Sunday,” a top government official said.
Four junior ministers – Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey – have resigned ahead of the rejig.
Two cabinet ministers, Uma Bharti and Kalraj Mishra, have also offered to resign, said BJP sources.
Bharti, who is the water resources minister, said only Shah or anyone on his behalf can speak on the issue.
“The media sought my reaction on reports in circulation since yesterday. I have said that I have not heard the question, will not hear nor will I answer it,” she tweeted.
Shah had met Modi yesterday and the two leaders are understood to have finalised the changes in the council of ministers.
BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, party’s vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prahlad Patel, Suresh Angadi, Satyapal Singh and Prahlad Joshi are being talked about within the party as probable ministers.
With the Nitsh Kumar-led JD(U) also likely to join the government, its leaders R C P Singh, who is its parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha, and Santosh Kumar are the likely picks from the new NDA constituent.
AIADMK leader Thambidurai had met Shah yesterday, and he, besides party leaders P Venugopal and V Maitreyan, may be the likely representatives from the Tamil Nadu party if it decides to join the government. However, the southern party has not confirmed it so far.
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.
While there are some vacancies, a number of senior ministers are also holding dual portfolios.
Arun Jaitley is in charge of two heavyweight ministries-finance and defence- while Harsh Vardhan, Smriti Irani and Narendra Singh Tomar are also handling additional charges.