BHUBANESWAR: With the hostage crisis over, speculation is rife in the BJD about a reshuffle in the ministry by the second week of May in which several non-performing ministers are likely to be shown the door. Though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has not opened his mind on the issue as yet, the BJD leaders have started counting the days in anticipation. A reshuffle has also become due as ministers have resigned and the vacancies have not been filled up.
While Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathi had quit following the hue and cry over the alleged Pipili gangrape case, Excise Minister A U Singhdeo had to put in his papers after the hooch tragedy in Khurda and Cuttack districts.
Besides, some of the senior leaders are also waiting to be reinducted in the ministry as they have patched up with the Chief Minister. Sources said senior leader Damodar Rout may again be reinducted.
The Chief Minister had reshuffled his Cabinet on May 10 last year by inducting five legislators as new ministers and dropping three senior ministers, including Rout.
The reshuffle had sparked off a row about the influence of the second power centre, Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra, on Naveen. After Rout was dropped from the ministry, he floated the Biju Bichar Manch ostensibly to propagate the ideals of Biju Patnaik.
However, with reports about differences of opinion between Naveen and Pyarimohan doing the rounds, Rout seems to have patched up with the Chief Minister.
Besides campaigning for party candidate Ranendra Pratap Swain in the Athgarh bypoll along with other senior leaders, Rout was also seen defending the State Government in the Budget session of the Assembly.
Sources said several ministers, whose performance is not up to the mark, will be shown the door in the reshuffle. These ministers had been spared in the last reshuffle. A senior BJD leader said the hostage crisis delayed the reshuffle, otherwise it would have been over by now.