After months of speculations and many false alarms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-anticipated cabinet reshuffle is likely to happen this week itself.
While there is a strong buzz that it could happen on July 7 or 8, but still we have to wait for the official announcement. For the unversed the Union Cabinet can have 81 members, and currently there are 53 ministers. This means there are 28 vacancies in the Cabinet and PM Modi may likely to augment his team and reach out to various sections before the state polls.
Two major reasons are being attributed for this exercise. Firstly, a lot of Cabinet ministers are handling multiple portfolios and a need has been felt to take off some of their load. Further, a need is being felt to give more representation to the allies in the Union Cabinet ahead of crucial Assembly Elections next year.
The shuffle expected in a day or two may reward Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose defection from the Congress last year has helped the BJP tack back the Madhya Pradesh and Sarbananda Sonowal, who had made his way for Himanta Biswa Sarma as Assam Chief Minister after BJP won for the Second Time In Assam. Performance is also expected to be one of the benchmarks when PM Modi expands his cabinet.
Despite Furious speculation, it is still not clear whether BJP’S strong ally, Nitish Kumar’s Janta Dal-United, will finally join the Union Cabinet. If sources are to believed then Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is expecting at least two ministries portfolios this time. JDU leaders Lallan Singh, Ramnath Thakur, RCP Singh, and Santosh Kushwaha are reportedly in the running. BJP leader Sushil Modi and Sanjay Jaiswal are also likely to join the Modi Cabinet from the Bihar contingent.
Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Polls, BJP Party may consider inducting BJP in-charge of Bihar Bhupendra Yadav who is close to Home Minister Amit Shah. BJP UP Chief Swatantra Dev Singh, Former minister and Brahmin Face from West UP Mahesh Sharma, Pankaj Choudhury; MP from Maharahganj, Varun Gandhi, Subrat Pathak from Kannauj, Rita Bahuguna Joshi from Allahabad, alliance Partner Anupriya Patel from Apna Dal, BJP spokesperson and minority face Syed Zafar Islam, Rajya Sabha Member Anil Jain, Ram Shankar Katheria and Kamlesh Paswan from Bansgaon are the other names in contention from Uttar Pradesh.
Similarly, there is a sizeable contention from Maharashtra, Assam, Rajasthan, Ladakh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Haryana which may be inducted in the Cabinet. Dr. Heena Gavit, Pritam Gopinath Munde, Poonam Mahajan, and Narayan Rane from Maharashtra is expected to make the cut.
Ashwini Vaishnaw from Odisha, Rajeev Chandrasekhar from Karnataka, Pratap Simha from Mysore, Kirit Premjibhai Solanki from Gujarat, Rahul Kaswan from Rajasthan, Parvesh Varma and Meenakshi Lekhi from Delhi, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal from Ladakh, Brijendra Singh and Sunita Duggal from Haryana, Ajay Bhatt and Tirath Singh Rawat from Uttarakhand and Queen Oja from Gauhati, Assam are the probable names which can be part of the Modi’s Cabinet Expansion.
PM Modi is also likely to include leaders from Bengal, where their party recently lost a nerve-wracking election to Mamata Banerjee. Jagannath Sarkar, Shantanu Thakur, Nitheet Pramaanik, John Barla, and Dinesh Trivedi are the names in circulation.
Moreover, the reshuffle was also expected due to vacancies caused by the untimely deaths of leaders like Ram Vilas Paswan and Suresh Angadi and the exits of Akali Dal and Shiv Sena.
PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP Chief JP Nadda had held a series of review meetings for the past few months. This exercise promises to be a carefully calibrated one, with a sharp focus on the next Lok Sabha election in which PM Modi will seek a third time in office. The performance of all ministers was also extensively reviewed, particularly how they worked in the devastating second wave of Coronavirus.
It may be noted that Modi 2.0 Cabinet has not seen any reshuffle and expansion since the government came to power for its second consecutive tenure in May 2019.
However, there is no official word from the party on these deliberations and speculations, but if recent developments are to believed then we may see a cabinet expansion this week.