Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises, confirmed that he submitted his resignation from the cabinet ahead of the reshuffle scheduled for Sunday.“I met with Modi ji and said that I’m ready. He said ‘Okay’ and I gave my resignation. I had to give a written resignation then but I submitted it yesterday,” Mishra was quoted saying by ANI. He said that he had offered to resign from the cabinet earlier too, before the Uttar Pradesh elections.
“After the election concluded, I again went to them (PM Modi and Party President Amit Shah) and said that I have completed 76 years now, and you can take a decision about me,” he said.
The departure of Mishra, 76, from the cabinet had been talked about during the reshuffle last year too as the unofficial age limit for ministers in Narendra Modi’s council is 75. But it was believed that the party decided to retain him ahead of the UP elections as he was a prominent Brahmin leader from the state.
Along with Mishra, Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya and junior ministers like Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Balyan, Faggan Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey have also submitted their resignations. While Pandey was appointed the chief of the UP BJP unit, other leaders are expected to be called for organisational work ahead of the 2019 elections.
The reshuffle, third since the government was elected to power in 2014, is likely to be the last before the 2019 polls.
A bunch of leaders, mostly hailing from poll-bound states like Karnataka, Himachal, Gujarat and Rajasthan, are likely to be inducted into the cabinet. Some of the names doing the rounds are BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, party’s vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prahlad Patel, Suresh Angadi, Satyapal Singh, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Anurag Thakur, Shobha Karandlaje, Maheish Girri and Prahlad Joshi.
At the same time, speculation remains rife about the defence ministry which was allotted to Arun Jaitley, who also handles the finance portolio, after Manohar Parrikar moved to Goa. While Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has offered to resign after a string of train derailments, it is not clear whether he would be retained. There is also no clarity over the plum urban development and environment portfolios.
The reshuffle may also see the entry of leaders from the JD(U), which joined the NDA recently, and the faction-riddled AIADMK from Tamil Nadu.
Meawhile, NDA ally Shiv Sena has not received any communication from the BJP over the inclusion of its members in the Union Cabinet reshuffle. “I have got news about the Cabinet expansion only from media. I have not enquired about it (from the central BJP leadership). I have neither received any communication from anybody nor are we hungry for power,” party chief Uddhav Thackeray told reporters
Echoing similar views, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar also denied receiving any such information and added that they got to know about the developments from the media.
With inputs from Agencies
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