New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to carry out expansion-cum-reshuffle of his Cabinet before 14 December. He is done with his homework and only a date has to be finalised.
PM Modi may carry out the Cabinet expansion before the beginning of “Kharmas” (the month when no new work is done). The month-long “kharmas” is beginning from 14 December. If Cabinet expansion is not done before that period, it will have to be postponed for too long, given the fact that the Budget session will start from 1 February to be followed by several Assembly elections, including in West Bengal, in May-June.
With this in view, PM Modi is expected to announce his expanded Cabinet anytime. After Bihar victory, PM Modi’s focus is on West Bengal and other states where Assembly polls are to be held in 2021. This will reflect in the Cabinet expansion and reshuffle. There may be extensive changes in the Cabinet. Several youth and new faces may be seen in Modi’s team. PM Modi had, along with 57 ministers, taken oath on 30 May 2019 for the second term. It was then expected that he will expand his Cabinet within a year. But it could not happen due to coronavirus.
In the meantime, two allies, the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal, which were part of his Cabinet, exited the ruling coalition NDA. Moreover, LJP leader Ramvilas Paswan passed away. He was also a Cabinet minister. At the same time, Karnataka BJP leader Suresh Angadi died of corona infection. As a result, several ministries are lying vacant. Responsibilities of these ministries have been assigned to other ministers who are now looking after 3-4 departments. This has necessitated a Cabinet expansion at the earliest.
According to sources, two ministerial berths may be given to JDU. BJP leader from Bihar, Sushil Modi, may also be given a Cabinet post. But a couple of Bihar BJP leaders may be relieved of ministerial posts.
Prime Minister Modi may spring a surprise in the Cabinet expansion. He may allocate a major ministry to a non-political person. However, it will be interesting to see whether any change is made in ministries such as Home, Defence, Finance and Railways.
Sources told The Sunday Guardian that portfolios of several ministers might be changed, and many of them might even be shown the exit as well. New faces may be inducted from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Assam and Uttar Pradesh. Some ministers from these states may be removed.
Similarly, a decision on the post of Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker is also likely. The states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand will be going to polls in 2022. So, PM Modi will keep this in mind while effecting the reshuffle.