NCP seeks January cabinet reshuffle

Ready to remove ministers with poor performance

Keen to change its ministers, NCP has urged Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to reshuffle cabinet in January.

Chavan has told NCP he himself is keen on a reshuffle to weed out non-performing ministers representing Congress. However, NCP wants the change to wait till January 18 as AICC is holding a 'chintan shibir' mid-January.

Sources confirmed, "The party core committee has reviewed political and administrative performances of ministers and shortlisted those who will have to be dropped."

NCP has 20 ministers in the 42-member cabinet.

Minister for PWD (public undertakings) Jaidutt Kshirsagar, minister for water supply and sanitation Laxman Dhobale, minister for medical education and horticulture Vijaykumar Gavit and minister for food and civil supplies and consumer affairs Anil Deshmukh are likely to be left out. While Kshirsagar represents Beed in Marathwada, Dhobale represents Mohol in Solapur district. Gavit is from Nandurbar and Deshmukh from Katol in Nagpur district.

A senior NCP general secretary said, "The decision to drop a minister or induct a new candidate will not be based on any single parameter of administrative capabilities alone. NCP president Sharad Pawar has asked the state unit to start preparations for Parliament and state assembly elections from January 2013. He has already warned against and highlighted the challenges NCP will face in the coming year before it goes to the people to seek a mandate. The core committee of the party will also take into account political considerations to consolidate its base region-wise."

State NCP chief Madhukar Pichad, a tribal, is likely to become a minister.

There is also pressure to infuse fresh blood in the form of Sashikant Shinde and Jitendra Awhad to push party agenda. To ensure a balance among factions within, some are suggesting elevation of minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir to cabinet rank.

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