With Prime Minister Narendra Modi having assumed the responsibilities of the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and at least two vacancies following the exit of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), discussion has started in the Bharatiya Janata Party about a possible cabinet reshuffle. The Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan assembly elections are also due later in the year. So the reshuffle could happen late May, after the Karnataka assembly elections.
Chhattisgarh, which sends 10 Members of Parliament (MPs) to the Lok Sabha and five to the Rajya Sabha, has only one minister, Vishnu Deo Sai, who is minister of state Steel, in the Cabinet. Bhupender Yadav, who was recently nominated to the Upper House is from Rajasthan, which sends 25 MPs to the Lok Sabha and 10 to the Rajya Sabha and has four Lok Sabha MPs as Union ministers. Yadav, who belongs to the backward class, will also help the party to attract backward voters in the state. Though Vijay Goel and KJ Alphons, who are Rajya Sabha members from Rajasthan, are a member of the Union Cabinet, they don’t belong to the state. The Cabinet has 74 ministers, including the Prime Minister. This number can go up to a maximum of 81.
Sign of commitment
Last month, Rahul Gandhi replaced Janardan Dwivedi as general secretary in charge of organisation and training with Ashok Gehlot. The letter announcing Dwivedi’s replacement and thanking him for his “hard work and contribution” was signed by none other than the outgoing general secretary Janardan Dwivedi himself as his last act in office.