NEW DELHI: Amid intense speculation of Cabinet reshuffle, the BJP chief Amit Shah on Thursday went into a huddle with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other ministers to strategise on upcoming state polls. The meeting is learnt to have focussed on Assembly elections in Gujarat, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.
With the BJP chief appointing Union Minister of state for human resources development Mahendra Nath Pandey as the party unit chief for Uttar Pradesh, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi will need to find his replacement in the next Cabinet reshuffle.
Along with Vijay Sampla, who is party unit chief for Punjab, Pandey is likely to be dropped from the Union council of ministers to allow them to focus on party activities in their respective states.
While the President Ram Nath Kovind is leaving for Tirupati on Friday, the only window for a possible Cabinet reshuffle is Saturday, as Prime Minister will embark on China tour to attend the BRICS summit on Sunday.
If the Cabinet reshuffle misses the Saturday window then the BJP leaders believe that it may take place in October. Jaitley on Thursday dropped hints of the Cabinet reshuffle by telling reporters that he would not be holding the portfolio of Ministry of Defence for long.
The BJP chief will also be camping in Mathura from September 1-3 to attend the RSS meeting, which will be attended by all the 40 affiliate wings. A number of Union Ministers are holding additional responsibilities, which include Jaitley, Smriti Irani, Narendra Singh Tomar and Harsh Vardhan.
Besides, the Prime Minister has also to accommodate the new NDA ally JD (U) in the Union Cabinet. There is also a strong possibility of the AIADMK formally joining the NDA and getting representation in the council of ministers.
Within the BJP, leaders claimed that a number of non-performing ministers could be dropped from the council of ministers.