The much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle is likely to take place on or around May 19. A minister told The Indian Express Thursday: “We have been told to remain in New Delhi on May 19.”
That’s also the day the results of assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be announced. The ongoing session of Parliament is scheduled to end May 13.
The Prime Minister, sources said, does not want to delay the reshuffle any longer and wants to move ahead with his new team irrespective of the poll results on May 19. It is expected that a few new faces will be inducted and portfolios of some ministers will be reshuffled.
It is also learnt that the reorganisation of the BJP will be carried out simultaneously with the Cabinet reshuffle.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, sources said, have completed a “detailed exercise” to ensure that the rejigs are to the “maximum advantage” of the party and the government.
The BJP-led government completes two years in power on May 26. And it is with this “milestone” in mind that the Cabinet reshuffle has been planned. The government also plans to “demonstrate steps taken regarding unearthing of black money” around the time it completes two years.
Speculation is rife on who may come into the Cabinet and whose portfolios will change. But a minister said: “Modi remains the towering figure of this government. (Arun) Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Sushma (Swaraj) and (Nitin) Gadkari have become the face of what you call the Modi government. So, I don’t expect any dramatic reshuffle.”
If the BJP were to win Assam, the only state where the party hopes to do well in these state polls, a replacement for Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will have to be found. The party projected Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate in Assam.
It is also expected that the reshuffle will factor the assembly elections next year in the key states of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
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