NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha elections are about two years away, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to reshuffle his team in a big way on Sunday. As many as seven ministers are understood to have already submitted their resignations, the latest being Bandaru Dattatreya.
Though the Prime Minister’s want of a reboot of his council for gaining more energy ahead of the Lok Sabha elections is being cited as the primary reason, the move is also being seen as an attempt by BJP chief Amit Shah to address representative imbalances in poll-bound States — Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh — all of which will vote later this year or early next year.
The Cabinet reshuffle, sources confirmed, would take place on Sunday morning before Modi embarks on his China trip to attend the BRICS summit. Express has learnt that the AIADMK will not take part in the exercise.
WHO GOES OUT
|Name of Minister||Reason|
|Rajiv Pratap Rudy||Non-performance|
|Faggan Singh Kulaste||Non-performance|
|Mahendra Nath Pandey||Party work|
|Kalraj Mishra||Age factor|
WHO ARE LIKELY TO COME IN
|Anand Rao Adsul [Shiv Sena]|
|Vashishtha Narayan Singh [JD-(U)]|
|Himanta Biswa Sarma|
|Gen. V.K. Singh|
|Radha Mohan Singh|
While resignations started pouring in since Thursday evening, party sources did not rule out the possibility of more ministers stepping down before Sunday, even though Shah was away in Vrindavan to attend a crucial RSS meet.
With the resignation of Bharti, the BJP chief has to find a representation for the electorally sensitive Lodh community. This might, in fact, help Prahlad Patel, a Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh.
The Shiv Sena may get one more nominee with Anand Rao Adsul joining the Cabinet. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, sources said, has not yet named his nominees. But party veteran Vashishtha Narayan Singh and first-time MP Santosh Kushwaha have emerged as top contenders.
Ananth Kumar is likely to head an integrated ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare. Harsh Vardhan, meanwhile, is learnt to have survived the axe due to RSS’ intervention, but will have to let go of the Environment Ministry. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh is likely to be shifted to a lightweight ministry for the way he handled the agrarian distress.
With Dattatreya’s exit and Venkaiah Naidu’s elevation as the Vice President, Shah has to find at least two more names for southern representation. However, sources ruled out the induction of P Muralidhar Rao and Ram Madhav. The BJP chief is also trying to give better representation to northeastern states.