Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday

RSTV Bureau

pm_modiThe first expansion and reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers will take place on Sunday with a number of new faces, including some from allies Shiv Sena and TDP, expected to be inducted.

The swearing-in of the new ministers will take place at 1 PM on Sunday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, official sources said.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is a certain induction into the Council of Ministers with Defence Ministry likely to be given to him.

Nearly 10 new faces are likely to be inducted into the exercise being carried out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first since coming to power in May.

Among the new faces are Vijay Sampla, a first time Lok Sabha member of BJP from Hoshiarpur in Punjab.

The other names doing the rounds include former minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and new faces Jayant Sinha, son of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, Jat leader from Haryana Birender Singh, Bhumiar leader from Bihar Giriraj Singh or Bhola Singh, Col Sonaram Chaudhary and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, both of Rajasthan, and Hansraj Ahir from Maharashtra.

From the allies, the likely names are Y S Chowdhary or Ram Mohan Naidu, son of late union minister K Yerran Naidu, of TDP. The name of Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai of Shiv Sena is also doing the rounds but his inclusion may depend on sorting out of issues between BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

Former union minister Suresh Prabhu, who is the Prime Minister’s sherpa for G-20 Summit, is widely being speculated as the head of a new body that will replace the Planning Commission. In that capacity, he may get Cabinet rank status.

The strength of the ministry now stands at 45–23 of the level of Cabinet, including the prime minister, and 22 of the Minister of State rank. 10 of the MoS hold independent charge of their ministries.

The defence portfolio is currently held as an additional charge by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who also has Corporate Affairs Ministry under his fold.

More than six ministers are currently holding more than one portfolio.

Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari also hold the charge of Rural Development Ministry, while Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also has the charge of IT and Communications Ministry.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has I&B ministry as an additional charge while Power Minister Piyush Goyal also looks after Coal and Mines.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu also has Urban Development while Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS in Finance Ministry, also has independent charge of Commerce.