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  India   Politics  02 Sep 2017  Cabinet rejig: Less burden for ministers with additional charge; Modi to induct new faces

Cabinet rejig: Less burden for ministers with additional charge; Modi to induct new faces

PTI
Published : Sep 2, 2017, 8:26 am IST
Updated : Sep 2, 2017, 8:26 am IST

The current strength of the council of ministers, including the PM, is 73 and the maximum number of ministers cannot go beyond 81.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Sunday's reshuffle is likely to take load off four ministers who are holding additional charges after vacancies arose in the cabinet between March and July in 2017 due to various reasons. In the rejig, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may induct new faces lessening the burden on these ministers.

In March, Manohar Parrikar resigned as defence minister.

He later became the chief minister of Goa. Arun Jaitley, who was holding the portfolio of Finance and Corporate Affairs, was given the additional charge of Defence.

In May, Anil Dave, the then Environment and Forest minister, passed away. Science and Technology minister Harsh Vardhan was given the additional charge of the Environment Ministry.

In July, M Venkaiah Naidu resigned from the union cabinet after being picked up as the NDA nominee for the post of vice president of India. His Housing and Urban Affairs portfolio went to Narendra Singh Tomar as additional charge.

Tomar is the minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water and Sanitation.

Naidu's Information and Broadcasting portfolio went to Smriti Irani, the minister for Textiles.

Besides, Ravi Shankar Prasad holds two portfolios -- Law and Justice and Information-Technology.

New blood in the offing?

Several new faces, including some from the BJP's allies, are expected to join the government when Prime Minister Narendra Modi a reshuffles his council of ministers on Sunday.

It will be the third such exercise since he took over in May 2014.

"A process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan at around 10 am on Sunday," a top government official said.

Four junior ministers - Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey - have resigned ahead of the rejig.

Two Cabinet ministers, Uma Bharti and Kalraj Mishra, have also offered to resign, said BJP sources.

Bharti, who is the water resources minister, said only Shah or anyone on his behalf can speak on the issue.

"The media sought my reaction on reports in circulation since yesterday. I have said that I have not heard the question, will not hear nor will I answer it," she tweeted.

Shah had met Modi yesterday and the two leaders are understood to have finalised the changes in the council of ministers.

BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, party's vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, and party MPs Prahlad Patel, Suresh Angadi, Satyapal Singh and Prahlad Joshi are being talked about within the party as probable ministers.

With the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) also likely to join the government, its leaders R C P Singh, who is its parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha, and Santosh Kumar are the likely picks from the new NDA constituent.

AIADMK leader Thambidurai had met Shah yesterday, and he, besides party leaders P Venugopal and V Maitreyan, may be the likely representatives from the Tamil Nadu party if it decides to join the government. However, the southern party has not confirmed it so far.

The current strength of the council of ministers, including the prime minister, is 73 and the maximum number of ministers cannot go beyond 81.

According to a constitutional amendment, the limit cannot exceed beyond 15 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha which is 545.

While there are some vacancies, a number of senior ministers are also holding dual portfolios.

Arun Jaitley is in charge of two heavyweight ministries- finance and defence- while Harsh Vardhan, Smriti Irani and Narendra Singh Tomar are also handling additional charges

Tags: manohar parrikar, narendra modi, cabinet ministry, cabinet reshuffle
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi