After the resignation of Minister of Corporate Affairs Murli Deora, it is now almost certain that a Cabinet reshuffle will be held possibly on July 9 or 10, soon after President Pratibha Patil returns from her Hyderabad and Tirupati visit.
Among the ministers likely to be dropped are Subodh Kant Sahay (food processing), S M Krishna (external affairs), Veerappa Moily (law and justice), Virbhadra Singh (small and medium industry) and B K Handique (north-east). Sushil Kumar Shinde (power) and Jairam Ramesh (environment) could be moved out of their present departments. Oscar Fernandes and Milind Deora are said to be new entrants but the newest will be Anil Kakodkar, top nuclear theologian, and Ashok Ganguly, Rajya Sabha MP and educationist.
Shivraj Patil (currently governor of Punjab and Rajasthan) is also returning to the Cabinet, but exactly where, no one knows. Sources say he should be No 3 in the government “but is so desperate to return that he’s happy being No 19”. Anand Sharma (commerce & industry) is trying for the ministry of external affairs slot but “PMO would prefer an EAM who is not too strong”.