Cabinet Reshuffle: Six more ministers quit before revamp
With the resignation of six more ministers—Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, Subodh Kant Sahai, Agatha Sangma, Vincent Pala and Mahadev Khandela—from the Union Council of Ministers today, the stage is set for a major Cabinet revamp on Sunday.
Over a dozen new faces are likely in the Cabinet and some of the ministers of state are set to be promoted.
Ludhiana MP and Congress spokesman Manish Tewari, who could be made an MoS with independent charge, Barmer MP Harish Choudhury, Mavelikkara MP Kodikkunnil Suresh, Arunachal East MP Ninong Ering, and at least five MPs from Andhra Pradesh—Balram Naik, Surya Prakash Reddy, Killi Kruparani, Sathyanarayan Sarvey, and Chiranjeevi—are among the likely new entrants.
Naik and Reddy hail from the Telangana region. It is not clear whether the actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi would be made MoS with independent charge or be given a Cabinet rank; he has been demanding the Tourism portfolio. Former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor is also likely to make a comeback. Former Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha K Rahman Khan is likely to be inducted and given Minority Affairs portfolio, which is now with Law Minister Salman Khurshid.
At least two MPs from West Bengal, Abu Asem Khan Choudhury and Deepa Dasmunshi, are set to be inducted as MoSes, even as Adhir Choudhury and Pradeep Bhattacharya are lobbying hard for the third slot from the state. After the resignation of the sole Congress Minister from Jharkhand, Subodh Kant Sahai, Pradeep Balmuchu has a chance of getting into the Union Council of Ministers. Rajiv Shukla and Jitin Prasada, who could not be promoted, are likely to be compensated with two portfolios each.
While Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath looks set to get the additional charge of Parliamentary Affairs, there is no clarity about the re-distribution of portfolios. Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Law Minister Salman Khurshid are said to be the front-runners to replace SM Krishna who had resigned as External Affairs Minister on Friday. Similarly, while there were indications that Road Transport & Highway Minister CP Joshi could retain the Railway portfolio, which had been entrusted to him as an additional charge, the issue was yet to be closed till late Saturday night.