PM Modi Cabinet Reshuffle LATEST News and Updates: Ahead of the reshuffle, Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan has resigned, reports News18. This comes at a time as India prepares for the third wave of COVID-19, while still reeling under the aftereffects of the second wave
Sources told News18 that three ministers have resigned hours before the reshuffle. They include: Labour minister Santosh Gangwar, HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and MoS Women and Child Development Debasree Chaudhuri
The expanded Union Cabinet will have 12 Scheduled Castes minister, 8 Scheduled Tribes ministers and 27 ministers from Other Backward Classes (Yadav kurmi, darji, jat gujjar, khandayat, Bhandari, bairagi, thakur, koli vokkaliga, tulu gowda, mallah), according to CNN-News18.
Five ministers will be from minorities including Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Buddhists.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to effect the first reshuffle in his Council of Ministers on Wednesday since he assumed the charge for a second term, in what is tipped to be a “major shake-up” of the government as he looks to make it more representative with an eye on political and governance challenges.
BJP leaders Sarbananda Sonowal, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Narayan Rane, all of whom are being seen as probables for induction as ministers in the Modi government, arrived in the national capital on Tuesday.
In another pointer to the imminent Cabinet reshuffle, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot was appointed as Karnataka governor, causing yet another ministerial vacancy.
JD(U) leader RCP Singh and LJP’s Pashupati Kumar Paras, both of whom are expected to represent the BJP’s allies in the government, also reached from Bihar.
All of them remained tight-lipped to queries about their possibility of joining the government. Rane told reporters that he had not received any call about his joining the government.
Leaders of the LJP faction headed by Paras said he had received a call from Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday but claimed that it was related to the birth anniversary of party founder Ram Vilas Paswan.
The exercise comes against the backdrop of a massive review, which has stretched for weeks, undertaken by the BJP top brass of the works of Union ministers and the organisation against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BJP leader said the reshuffle is expected to be a “big shake-up” with Modi addressing political challenges, including the assembly polls in five states early next year, and governance issues.
Representation of BJP MPs from West Bengal and the Northeast may go up, according to PTI.
Another BJP ally All India Jharkhand Students’ Union may also get a berth, sources said as the BJP looks to boost its partners’ representation in the ministry after its old allies like Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal severed their ties with it.
Ramadas Athavale, a junior minister, is the only BJP ally in the government as of now. The current strength of the Council of Ministers is 53, including Modi, and its maximum number can be 81.
Against the massive review exercise within the central government and the party machinery, the prime minister may go for new faces with an eye on grooming younger leaders while also factoring in caste and regional balances.
The reshuffles undertaken by Modi so far, all in his first term, have also seen some ministers being dropped or removed from key portfolios on account of their performance.
The prime minister has also sprung surprises in the past by inducting those with apolitical background, like S Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri, as ministers.
Names of Bhupender Yadav, Anil Baluni, Sudhanshu Trivedi are doing the rounds while BJP MPs Sushil Modi, Ashwini Vaishnav and GVL Narasimha Rao are also being mentioned as probables.
BJP general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh met party president JP Nadda in the evening. Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje also met Santhosh.
With Gehlot set to quit as an MP after becoming governor, his departure will also leave the key post of the leader of the House in Rajya Sabha vacant. It will leave one more position vacant in the BJP’s Parliamentary Board, the party’s apex body, where he is the only Dalit leader.