Modi cabinet expansion: 19 new ministers today, poll-bound states a factor

There are currently 64 Union ministers, including the Prime Minister, and there can be a maximum of 82 of them under a constitutional bar.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: July 5, 2016 11:31:55 am
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Nineteen new faces are set to be inducted in the Union Council of Ministers Tuesday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes in for an expansion of his team. It is expected he will reach out to OBCs and Dalits and provide representation to key states going to assembly polls in 2017 like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

It is learnt that those likely to be inducted are P P Chaudhary, Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, M J Akbar, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Anil Madhav Dave, Ramesh Jigajinagi, Parshottam Rupala, Jasvantsinh Bhabhor, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Faggan Kulaste, Vijay Goel, Anupriya Patel, Mansukh Mandaviya, S S Ahluwalia, Rajen Gohain, C R Chaudhary, Ajay Tamta, Ramdas Athawale and Krishna Raj.

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These 19 come from more than ten states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Assam.

Faggan Singh Kulaste, who figured in the 2008 cash-for-votes scandal and was later discharged by court, was a Minister of State in the Vajpayee government.

Others expected to find a place in the Council of Ministers are P P Chaudhary, a senior Supreme Court advocate and Lok Sabha member from Pali in Rajasthan, Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, a specialist in cancer surgery, journalist-turned-politician M J Akbar. BJP MP from Nagaur in Rajasthan C R Chaudhary is also likely to be inducted.

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Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel, daughter of the late Sonelal Patel and an OBC face from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, is set to find a place and so are Krishna Raj (Shahjahanpur) and Mahendranath Pandey (Chandauli).

Party veterans S S Ahluwalia and Vijay Goel are also likely to be made ministers. Goel was a minister in the Vajpayee government.

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Mansukh Mandavia and Parshottam Rupala from Gujarat, Anil Madhav Dave from Madhya Pradesh are also likely to be inducted. Dave, a Rajya Sabha member, has written several books.

Bikaner MP and the party’s chief whip in Lok Sabha, Arjun Ram Meghwal, and Ramesh Jigajinagi, a former Karnataka minister, are set to find berths. Rupala was a Gujarat minister and so was Jasvantsinh Bhabhor.

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The reshuffle in the Union Cabinet will be followed up by a string of changes in the BJP organisation. A day before the Cabinet reshuffle, all roads seemed to be leading to the residence of BJP chief Amit Shah.

Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan’s visit though raised speculation about his fate. Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal had met him in the morning besides M J Akbar, Anupriya Patel, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Ramdas Athawale.

Minister of State for Water Resources Sanwar Lal Jat, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Rama Shankar Katheria also met Shah at his residence.

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