NEW DELHI: Ahead of Assembly elections to the crucial states of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, the Narendra Modi government is all set to rejig the Union Cabinet on Tuesday by bringing new faces with a greater representation from the Dalit community. The changes are likely to happen mostly at the junior level. The top four portfolios such as Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs are likely to remain untouched. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry could be divested from Arun Jaitley to reduce his burden.
Sources in BJP said 19 new faces would be inducted into the Union Cabinet. Besides, a couple of union ministers with independent charge might by elevated into the cabinet rank. Most of these leaders met BJP president Amit Shah ahead of the reshuffle at this official residence here on Monday. Shah later called on RSS leaders and was also slated to meet the PM.
During an interaction with editors on Monday, Modi said that expansion of his council of ministers would reflect the budget priorities and the commitment of his government to reach out to every section of the society. There are 66 ministers at the Centre right now, including the Prime Minister. The Constitution allows 82 ministers. The rejig in the council of ministers comes against the backdrop of a vacancy that was created following the exit of Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who became the Chief Minister of Assam. The first expansion had occurred in November 2014.