By: Shubham Ghosh
PRIME minister Narendra Modi is likely to make the first cabinet reshuffle in his second term in office soon and the exercise could see the induction of more ministers, sources said on Monday (5).
According to the sources, the central cabinet reshuffle is likely to take place keeping in mind upcoming state elections and the general election of 2024.
Prime minister Modi’s cabinet can have a maximum of 81 members and with 53 ministers currently in place, there is a scope of including 28 more. Some of the current ministers in the government are overburdened with portfolios and the reshuffle could see them getting some relief.
Three big leaders in New Delhi
Among the big names that are doing rounds as possible faces in Modi’s expanded cabinet are former central minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane. News that these three leaders were on their way to New Delhi, the national capital, added more to the buzz.
Scindia, currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, left the Indian National Congress to join the Bharatiya Janata Party in March 2019 but is yet to get a ministerial berth after having delivered for the saffron party in his home state Madhya Pradesh. Sonowal, on the other hand, was the central minister of youth affairs and sports in Modi’s first government between 2014 and 2016 but was made the chief minister of the north-eastern state in 2016. He was replaced by Himanta Biswa Sarma after the BJP returned to power in Assam for the second successive time in May.
Rane, who is also a member of the Rajya Sabha at the moment, has been a member of parties like the Shiv Sena and Congress in the past before joining the BJP in 2019.
The leader, who served as Sena chief minister between February and October 1999, is a strongman from the Konkan coast and played a key role in the preparation of the report on Maratha reservation. It is believed that the elevation of Rane, who has also been a minister holding various portfolios in Maharashtra, could help the BJP’s chances in the civic elections in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, scheduled next year.
Meanwhile, in a different shuffle ahead of the cabinet changes, governors of seven states were transferred while Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Union minister for social justice and empowerment, was made the governor of the southern state of Karnataka.