Speculation continued over exits, entries, demotions and elevations in the ministry even as it was confirmed on Friday that minister of state for labour (independent charge) Bandaru Dattatreya has quit.
The exercise to finalise the list for Sunday’s swearing-in continues with senior Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Gadkari meeting at Singh’s residence on Friday evening.
State polls to play crucial role in swearing-in of MPs in Cabinet
The consultations among top BJP leaders are believed to have taken stock of regional and electoral considerations ahead of forthcoming assembly elections.
The ministers to have quit ahead of the reshuffle include Rajiv Rudy, Sanjeev Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Kalraj Mishra and Mahendra Pandey; the last will now be BJP’s UP unit chief.
Bharati, who was in her constituency of Jhansi on Friday, made her annoyance quite clear with reports that she had offered to quit on health grounds, saying it was up to party chief Amit Shah to clarify. Her portfolio may be changed but the firebrand sanyasin is expected to remain in the ministry.
Sources said Gadkari had been sounded out to take charge of railways but he was reluctant as there was not much time to change the state of affairs in railways and he had his plate full.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu had offered to quit after the recent train derailments, including the one involving Utkal Express which killed 23 people and was seen to be the result of staff negligence.
A performance audit of ministers at a time when the Modi government has completed three years in office is also an important benchmark as the functioning of some half a dozen ministries is not seen to be up to the mark.
The reshuffle is also likely to see changes among ministers of state who have not impressed and the new look of the cabinet is expected to signal political priorities ahead of the 2019 polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for China to attend the BRICS summit soon after the swearing-in ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Sources said some 14-15 new ministers could be inducted while 7-8 could leave, some for the party organisation.
Other than performance, state polls are important determinants in view of elections in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, where state polls are due later this year and in 2018.
There possibility of induction of Suresh Angadi, Shobha Karandlaje, Prahlad Joshi(Karnataka), Satyapal Singh (UP), Prahlad Patel (Madhya Pradesh ), Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (Maharashtra), Himanta Biswa Sarma (Assam), Maheish Giri (Delhi), Anurag Thakur (Himachal Pradesh), Bhupendra Yadav (Rajasthan) JD(U)’s R C P Singh and Santosh Kushwaha is doing the rounds.
Source : timesofindia