Modi cabinet reshuffle on Sunday

Amit Shah

Amit Shah

Skill development minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, minister of state for health Faggan Singh Kulaste and minister of state for agriculture and food processing Sanjiv Balyan have been asked to put in their papers. "A process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan around 10 am on Sunday", an official said. The appointment of Union Minister of State Mahendra Nath Pandey as the next BJP chief of Uttar Pradesh lent greater impetus to an imminent Cabinet reshuffle.

Ministers belonging to the BJP's allies were also graded similarly.

Another possible exit is that of Radha Mohan Singh, who has faced massive criticism over the death of protesting farmers in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur, where the BJP lost a by-election to the Congress recently.

Rudy said it was the decision of the party and he had resigned. Uma Bharti, Bandaru Dattatreya and Kalraj Mishra have also quit. I have no right to speak on the issue.

Gadkari, who is already in-charge of road transport and shipping, will gain further heft.

Ministers who are handling dual portfolios will be given only one portfolio. Shah has reportedly met with six ministers in the last two days. From the JD-U quota Rajya Sabha MP R.C.P. Singh and Santosh Kumar are strong contenders. No one can say with any degree of certainty who will get which berth or would be dropped. Prahlad Joshi and Suresh Angadi, both MPs from Karnataka, could make a debut at the Centre. He was first elected as a Member of Parliament to the 8th Lok Sabha in 1984 from Dharmapuri. The shake up is being planned with en eye on crucial Assembly polls ahead and the national elections.

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In light of the imminent reshuffling, several Cabinet ministers were asked to resign as well.

Defence Ministry may retain with ArunJaitley, while Finance Ministry may be given to PiyushGoyal. On being asked by reporters on Wednesday to clarify whether he would continue as the Defence Minister, Jaitley replied, "Not for very long". Five of the 8 ministers, including Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Jitendra Singh and PP Choudhury, are members of Gujarat poll panel.

The election of Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu as vice-president caused a vacancy in another important ministry.

"BJP sources said, "Unless something dramatic happens in the next 24 hours, it is unlikely that AIADMK will be inducted into the cabinet on Sunday", indicating that it can be done anytime afterwards whenever the Prime Minister wants".

"The Prime Minister said that in order to enable all traders to derive the maximum benefit of GST, we should work towards ensuring that all traders, including the relatively smaller traders with a turnover of below ₹20 lakh, register with the GST system".

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