Six more ministers quit before revamp

Cabinet reshuffle

With the resignation of six more ministers—Ambika Soni, Mukul Wasnik, Subodh Kant Sahay, Agatha Sangma, Vincent Pala and Mahadev Khandela—from the Union Council of Ministers on Saturday, the stage has been set for a major Cabinet revamp on Sunday. The reshuffle is likely to see the induction of over a dozen new ministers and promotion for many ministers of state.

Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma is tipped to replace S M Krishna who had resigned as External Affairs Minister on Friday, although official sources said that a final call on this issue was yet to be taken. There were indications that C P Joshi might retain the Railway portfolio, which had been entrusted to him as an additional charge, but the issue was said to be still open. Joshi is likely to be divested of his Road Transport & Highways portfolio, which could go to Pawan Bansal. Bansal's Parliamentary Affairs portfolio is set to be given to Kamal Nath as an additional charge.

Among the Minisers of State with Independent Charge, Dinsha Patel and Ajay Maken are set to be promoted to the Cabinet rank. There is uncertainty about Jayanthi Natarajan's fate, even as sources say she is likely to be divested of Environment & Forest portfolio.

Among the MoSes who are likely to be promoted are Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, KH Muniyappa, D Purandareswari, Harish Rawat, M M Pallam Raju and Milind Deora. Harish Rawat is set to be promoted to Cabinet rank. In Andhra Pradesh, Purandareswari thanked the Prime Minister for promoting her to the Cabinet rank and giving her Commerce portfolio, although official sources maintain that the PM has not revealed the portfolios to any of the ministers.

The new faces that are likely to be inducted in the Cabinet include Ludhiana MP and Congress spokesman Manish Tewari, Barmer MP Harish Choudhury, Mavelikkara MP Kodikkunnil Suresh, and at least five MPs from Andhra Pradesh including Balram Naik, Surya Prakash Reddy, Killi Kruparani, Sathyanarayan Sarvey, and Chiranjeevi. Naik and Reddy hail from Telangana region.

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