A reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers appeared imminent with minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigning yesterday night amid speculation that some more ministers may quit ahead of the exercise expected before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for China on Sunday, reports PTI.
BJP chief Amit Shah—who held a meeting with some senior ministers at his residence on Thursday morning—met Modi later in the day.
Sources said more ministers may resign as Modi prepares to induct new faces—including those from the JD(U) and AIADMK—into his council of ministers.
Rudy—who was holding the portfolio of skill development and entrepreneurship and represents Bihar’s Saran Lok Sabha constituency—is expected to be given an organisational assignment in the BJP, sources close to him said.
Sources said Kalraj Mishra, who had met Shah today, may also resign. He is well above 75 years, the age bar the party has informally set for ministers.
Earlier in the day, Union minister Mahendra Nath Pandey was appointed Uttar Pradesh BJP President in place of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, creating one more vacancy in the Council of Ministers.
Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has also reportedly offered to quit on health grounds.
AIADMK’s Thambidurai and K Venugopal are being seen as among likely representatives of their party in the Cabinet if the Tamil Nadu based party joins the Modi government. At least two members of the JD(U) are also likely to join.
There are several vacancies in the government while some senior ministers, including Arun Jaitley and Harsh Vardhan, are holding additional portfolios.
Right now, the council of ministers has 72 ministers – 24 of cabinet rank, 12 MoS (independent charge) and 36 MoS, according to India Today. The total number of ministers in the council cannot exceed 81.
The last cabinet reshuffle took place in July 2016 in which Modi inducted 19 new faces and elevated MoS for Environment Prakash Javadekar to cabinet rank. Five junior ministers were also dropped.