Six more quit Cabinet, rejig today

Rahul may be appointed Cong working president

Six more quit Cabinet,  rejig today

With seven central ministers relinquishing their posts in a span of 24 hours, the stage is all set for a major shuffle of the Union Council of Ministers on Sunday in which at least 12 new faces will be inducted.

Some junior ministers may be promoted and there will be reshuffle of portfolios too.
On Saturday, three Cabinet Ministers - Ambika Soni (Information and Broadcasting), Mukul Wasnik (Social Justice) and Subodh Kant Sahai (Tourism) - and announced that they would work for the party. Sahai's name had figured in the coal-gate scam.
The other two are likely to be drafted for organisational work.

Three ministers of state, Mahadev Khandela (Tribal Affairs), Vincent Pala (Water Resources) and Agatha Sangma (Rural Development), also resigned. S M Krishna quit the Cabinet on Friday.

Hours after President Pranab Mukherjee accepted the resignations, Congress president Sonia Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give final touches to the impending reshuffle.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place at 11.30 am at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday.
Rahul Gandhi is unlikely to join the Cabinet. The Gandhi scion is tipped to be given more responsibility in the party and a post of “working president” may be created for him.
But some of the new faces in the Cabinet are likely to be from the young brigade, who are close to the Gandhi scion.

Anand Sharma is tipped to be the next minister of external affairs.
He had a stint in the MEA as the minister of state in UPA I.

His place in the Commerce Ministry is all set to go to Purandeswari, daughter of the late N T Rama Rao, after her eight-year tenure as MoS in HRD Ministry.

The next election in Andhra is likely to witness an interesting fight between NTR’s daughter and YSR’s son.

Prominent among the newcomers expected to be inducted are actor-turned politician Chiranjeevi (Andhra Pradesh), likely to get the tourism portfolio.
Pranab Mukherjee is no longer a part of the council of ministers.

West Bengal may be represented in the Cabinet by A H Khan Chowdhry, brother of the late A B A Ghani Khan Chowdhry, West Bengal PCC chief Pradeep Bhattacharya and Raiganj MP Deepa Dasmunsi (West Bengal), who is the wife of ailing Congress leader P R Dasmunsi.

Even as six vacancies left by the Trinamool Congress will be filled up, there is no indication to what decision DMK supremo K Karunanidhi has taken on the slots vacated by scam-tainted A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran of his party.

Former Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Rehman Khan, NCP's Tariq Anwar (Maharashtra), and Congress's Pradeep Balmuchu (Jharkhand), Manish Tewari and Pradeep Majhi (Odisha) may also be drafted in the Cabinet.

Besides Purandeswari and Ajay Maken, who could also be promoted as a Cabinet minister, Ministers of State who could be upgraded are Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora. Maken may get the Information and Broadcasting portfolio. Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa is likely to be made Minister of State with independent charge.

In the rejig of portfolios, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath is likely to be given additional charge of Parliamentary Affairs, now held by Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is expected to retain Water Resources or get Road Transport and National Highways.
Jaipal Reddy may get the HRD portfolio while Ghulam Nabi Azad is likely to take his place. Health may go Harish Rawat.

M Veerappa Moily, C P Joshi and Kapil Sibal are likely to retain their portfolios of power, railways and telecom respectively. Rehman Khan may get the minority affairs portfolio, which is currently being held by Law Minister Salam Khurshid.

Minister of State in Defence M M Pallam Raju is likely to be given independent charge. Along with the revamp of the Council of Ministers, there is a possibility of long-awaited restructuring in the AICC, in preparation for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Who’s out

*  Ambika Soni
*  Mukul Wasnik
*  Subodh Kant Sahai
*  Mahadev Khandela
*  Vincent Pala
*  Agatha Sangma

 

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