NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to reshuffle and expand his council of ministers on Tuesday and may induct nine new faces in what will be the first such major exercise since he assumed office in May 2014, party sources said.

The reshuffle exercise could reflect the BJP’s political priorities in UP where elections are due early next year.
Prominent among the names doing the rounds for induction include Anupriya Patel, an OBC Lok Sabha member belonging to ally Apna Dal from UP, and a number of BJP leaders, who met party chief Amit Shah on Monday.

The BJP names include SS Ahluwalia (LS), Vijay Goel (RS), PP Chaudhary, a dalit MP from Bikaner in Rajasthan.

Sources said Ajay Tamta, a dalit Lok Sabha member from Uttarakhand, which will go to the polls with Uttar Pradesh early next year, Purushottam Rupala, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, Ramdas Athawale, a RPI MP from Maharashtra (RS), Mahendra Nath Pandey, an MP from UP, are among the likely inclusions. Krishan Raj, another BJP dalit MP from UP, can also make the cut.

Some ministers can also be dropped, party sources said adding top ministers are unlikely to be disturbed.

Frank Noronha, Principal spokesperson of the government, tweeted on Monday that the Cabinet expansion will take place tomorrow at 11am .

There has been talk of the expansion for the past several weeks amid speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could induct new faces from Uttar Pradesh with an eye on polls.

There is also a vacancy in the Council of Ministers after sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal became the chief minister of Assam.

According to the sources, this time around, instead of new members getting calls from the Prime Minister’ Office, it was BJP president Amit Shah who informed them about their likely induction into the cabinet
Modi had earlier met Amit Shah and finance minister Arun Jaitley to discuss the issue.

The three are expected to meet again later on Monday to give a final shape to the expansion-cum-reshuffle, the sources said.

This will be the second expansion of the Union Cabinet after Modi came to power in May, 2014. The first expansion had occurred in November 2014.

There are currently 64 Union ministers, including the Prime Minister, and there can be a maximum of 82 of them under a constitutional bar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *