NEW DELHI: Long awaited cabinet reshuffle is expected soon as BJP has decided to project senior BJP leader and union minister M Vankaiah Naidu for the post of Vice President. Vacancies are already there in the union cabinet due to the sudden demise of environment minister Anil Madhav Dave and the return of defence minister Manohar Parrikar to Goa politics.
M Venkaiah Naidu holds charge of two ministries, ministry of housing and urban affairs and information and broadcasting ministry. Two ministries—ministry of urban development and ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation were merged recently into ministry of housing and urban affairs.
Sources with the BJP said that a reshuffle was speculated earlier particularly after the sudden demise of environment minister Anil Madhav Dave and shifting of Defense minister Manohar Parrikar to Goa. A senior BJP leader said that discussion on rejig of the cabinet has been going on for last few months. The next Lok Sabha polls are not far away and government wants to move fast on its promises in the next two years, said the leader, adding that some minister might be brought into the party fold.
“Some cabinet members might be given significant responsibility in states particularly where BJP wants to strengthen its position On the other side some senior faces in party may move to cabinet,” added the leader.
Before this, PM Narendra Modi had first expanded his cabinet in November 2014. Many prominent names including Defence minister Parrikar, health minister J P Nadda and railway minister Suresh Prabhu were inducted into the cabinet. Thereafter, in July 2016, the cabinet witnessed brief rejig in which senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar was promoted as the human resource development (HRD) minister, replacing Smriti Irani, who was given Textile portfolio.
While union minister Harsh Vardhan was given additional charge of environment ministry after the death of Anil Madhav Dave, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley has been additionally taking care of Defense ministry after Manohar Parrikar moved to Goa.