The monsoon session of the Parliament is twelve days ahead and when it commences, it will be hosting many new faces who would be inducted into what would become a significant cabinet expansion and reshuffle. All eyes are on Prime Minister Modi and his close circle as the Prime Minister will be carrying out a rejig drive in his cabinet, reaching the maximum scale of Union ministerial posts.
Prime Minister Modi will be expanding and reshuffling his cabinet by this week and as a prefix to the reshuffle, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot has on Tuesday appointed as the Governor of Karnataka by the President of India. The unanticipated development of removing Gehlot from the cabinet and awarding him one of the highest constitutional offices has stirred expectations over his successor.
Gehlot was also the Leader of BJP in the Rajya Sabha and the Central ruling party will be attending the monsoon session in the Upper house of the Parliament with a new face. Gehlot is seen as BJP's most prominent Scheduled Caste face and he is one of the eight Governors that have either been appointed or transferred by the President on Tuesday. Being the first major reshuffle since forming the second consecutive government in 2019, the nation is keenly watching the developments of who will win Modi's eyes and become a part of his cabinet.
While it is not clear about the exact day for the news of cabinet expansion, it is vivid that the Prime Minister is aiming to expand his council of ministers by inducting over 20 new ministers in the cabinet. The BJP will be framing the drive to give significant representation to the poll-bound states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Manipur. Uttar Pradesh will be getting a sound number of fresh faces in the cabinet reshuffle.
The Prime Minister has held meetings with the cabinet meetings to assess their performance in the past two years. The ministers were asked to make presentations about their achievements and their works since the government was formed in May 2019. Party president JP Nadda had also attended some of these meetings. The Prime Minister will be releasing the non-performing ministers from the cabinet and would pump in young blood to revitalize his governance.
It has been expected that Modi will induct a dozen more ministers in the cabinet as well as in the non-cabinet ranks - minister of state and minister of state with independent charge. As per the constitutional norms, the Union government can have 81 members - that is 15 per cent of the Lok Sabha strength as the ministers of these three tiers. Currently, the government has 53 ministers and the Prime Minister may close the numbers to 70, which would the biggest cabinet expansion in recent years.
Several factors have changed in two years as some of the parties like Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal had left the BJP alliance. Modi will look to accommodate the representations from the allied parties- particularly, parties that have a stronghold in the poll-bound states and with a prominent presence in the backward communities. Besides satisfying the allied parties, Modi will also be awarding a cabinet-level post to the growing leaders of the party.
The expansion is also been aimed at relaxing the shoulders of some of the current ministers who are taking care of two or three ministries. Piyush Goyal has been handling the portfolio of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in addition to Railways and Commerce and Industry. By inducting a new minister, Goyal can pass the load to the newcomer. Apart from Goyal, Union Ministers like Narendra Singh Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsh Vardhan, and Prakash Javadekar are holding several ministries in their hands.
For the past few days, the BJP high command has held an operation of finding the faces to the cabinet, and on Monday, the Prime Minister has held meetings with Amit Shah and BJP General Secretary (Organization) BL Santhosh to give a final sketch to the cabinet reshuffle drive. While Modi was scheduled to meet Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, and other senior leaders on Tuesday at 5 pm, this meeting was eventually cancelled.
According to reports, the possible names that would enter the cabinet include Bihar's former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, former Assam Chief Minister and BJP leader Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's close aide RCP Singh. The reports also say that the new Union Territory of Ladakh would also get a representation in the cabinet with the sole MP Jamyang Namgyal. On Tuesday, Sonowal and Scindia had left for Delhi from their respective home states which fueled the speculations that they will be inducted into the cabinet.
Madhya Pradesh: BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia leaves for Delhi from Indore— ANI (@ANI) July 6, 2021
"I was on a visit to Ujjain. After completing my visit here, I'm going to Delhi," he says pic.twitter.com/PCzKMtGKex
Former Assam CM & BJP leader Sarbananda Sonowal arrives at Delhi airport pic.twitter.com/c7rQFuluml— ANI (@ANI) July 6, 2021