In the run up to that reshuffle, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah
had met ministers who were to be dropped, elevated or their portfolios changed. Today, Shah met union ministers Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Upendra Kushwaha
and Chaudhary Birender Singh.
July 5, 2016 was the last occasion the Narendra Modi-led union council of ministers was reshuffled and expanded.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and Shah also held a meeting with chief ministers and deputy CMs of BJP ruled states. To add to the anticipation of a cabinet reshuffle
later this week, Shah postponed his scheduled three-day visit to Tamil Nadu. Shah was to visit Tamil Nadu from August 22 to 24.
With the merger of the two factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam
(AIADMK) today, and Janata Dal (United) officially joining the BJP-led National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Patna on Saturday, both these political parties are set to get representation in the union cabinet commensurate to their parliamentary strengths. At least two, if not more, cabinet ministers are likely to be dropped and given gubernatorial assignments. Several of the Raj Bhavans, including Patna and Chennai, are currently vacant.
has 37 members in the Lok Sabha
and 13 in the Rajya Sabha, and is expected to get two cabinet ranked and two minister of state berths. Lok Sabha
Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai could find a spot in the cabinet, which could mean a senior Shiv Sena Lok Sabha
member might succeed him as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's deputy. The JD (U) with two members in the Lok Sabha
and 10 in the Rajya Sabha
is likely to get one each of cabinet and minister of state berths.
and JD (U) joining the NDA, the BJP-led coalition is set to have better numbers in the Rajya Sabha.
Earlier this month, BJP became the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha.
But the NDA
is still short of the majority mark of 123 in the 245-member House. Some Opposition leaders believe Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party could gravitate towards the NDA
in the run up to the Gujarat assembly polls that are scheduled by the end of this year. Sources said BJP General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman played pivotal roles to facilitate the AIADMK
Other factors determining the cabinet reshuffle
would be to fill vacancies. Defence, Environment, Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting are some of the portfolios which currently are being held as additional charges by ministers. Some of the ministers of state with independent charge could be promoted to the cabinet rank. Performance of ministers like Piyush Goyal and Manoj Sinha has come for praise from the PM and BJP chief. Assam has no representation in the union council of ministers after Sarbananda Sonowal moved to his home state. Elections are due in Karnataka by mid-2018, and in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan by end-2018.
Meanwhile, the Congress-led Opposition today announced setting up of a committee to ‘save composite culture’ under the leadership of rebel JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav. In another development, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati today rejected media reports about her calling for a united Opposition in a poster uploaded on Twitter by what seemed to be the handle of her party. Mayawati said her party does not have an account on the microblogging site. The poster featured Mayawati, along with Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.