New Delhi Sep 2: Whispers in the corridors of power are gaining momentum by each passing hour. It is not about the cabinet reshuffle anymore, it's about who are in and what will be their respective portfolios. This is because the chosen ones will be the men in army of PM Narendra Modi who are in keeping the General Elections of 2019 in mind. These new faces are the chosen ones who will execute the dreams of PM as this is being seen as the final reshuffle before 2019.
Kalraj Mishra, Uma Bharti, Bandaru Dattatreya, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjeev Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Mahendra Nath Pandey and Giriraj Singh have already resigned and a few more names are expected before the day ends today.
The ceremony which will start at 10 AM in Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday the new ministers will be sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for China to attend the BRICS summit Sunday afternoon.
After senior minister M Venkaiah Naidu's elevation to the Vice President, two important portfolios were left vacant; that of Information and Broadcasting and Urban Development.
Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani was given additional charge of Information and Broadcasting and Rural Development Minister Narendra Tomar took over the Urban Development Ministry.
Already, two key ministries-- defence and environment--are without a full-time minister
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan are holding the additional charge of these two portfolios respectively
Sources suggest that out of the 73 members of the Union council of ministers, at least nine are likely to be edged out. PM is expected to include 15 new faces in the government. There can be a maximum of 81 members.
With JD(U) joining NDA now, some important portfolios are expected to go to some senior JD(U) members as well.
The portfolios will also be distributed keeping the Assembly as well as General Elections in mind.
While Manohar Parrikar's move to Goa as its chief minister in March left the defence ministry without a full- time Cabinet minister, the death of Anil Dave in May caused a vacancy in the environment ministry
Prime Minister Modi first expanded his cabinet in November 2014 when he inducted 21 new faces, including Parrikar as defence minister.
In July last year, Modi undertook another reshuffle in which he appointed Prakash Javadekar as the human resource development minister, replacing Smriti Irani, who was shifted to textiles.