By: Shubham Ghosh
ALL eyes were set on Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (7) over an impending cabinet reshuffle in his government. This will be the first reshuffle since Modi took oath as the prime minister for the second time in 2019 and the final decision was expected to come around 6 pm Indian Time.
Sources said Modi’s expanded cabinet was set to see 14 ministers below the age of 50 and could have a perfect balance of castes, regions and experience. The cabinet will see a blend of youth and experience with 46 already having experience in serving in the central government, four are former chief ministers while 18 are former ministers in various state governments. There could also be as many as 11 women ministers from across nine states.
The council of ministers will also see a mix of experienced professionals – with 13 lawyers, six doctors, five engineers, seven civil servants, seven having research degrees and three with business degrees.
The Union cabinet has 53 ministers at the moment and it could accommodate 28 more. Some big names are doing the rounds as probable names to be inducted in the new cabinet and they are former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane and former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia who joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party last year.
Besides the three, other BJP leaders like Ajay Bhatt, Shobha Karandlaje, Sunita Duggal, Bhupender Yadav, Meenakshi Lekhi, Bharati Pawar, Shantanu Thakur and Kapil Patil, Janata Dal (United)’s R C P Singh, Lok Janshakti Party’s Pashupati Paras and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel met the prime minister as ministerial probables.
The reshuffle is taking place following a detailed performance evaluation of the ministers by none other than Modi himself. According to sources, Kiren Rijiju and Hardeep Singh Puri – both junior ministers with independent charge — could get promotions based on their performances.
The new ministry of Modi would also see a record 12 ministers belonging to the Scheduled Castes from eight states, including the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. Two of the ministers will be part of the cabinet. Besides, 27 of the ministers are from Other Backward Classes and five among them will be in the cabinet.
A number of ministers resigned: reports
A number of serving ministers reportedly resigned from their posts ahead of the big reshuffle and they included Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. Besides, Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, chemicals and fertilisers minister DV Sadananda Gowda, labour minister Santosh Gangwar, minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution Raosaheb Patil Danve and minister of state for education Sanjay Dhotre have also resigned, according to reports.
Swearing-in of the new ministers will take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and invitations were sent to some people, said reports.