India PM said to plan cabinet revamp, some ministers offer to quit

Reshuffle is expected to take place before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for China on Sunday for a BRICS summit.

Putting an end to days of speculation, officials Friday confirmed that the reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers has been scheduled for Sunday morning.

A revamp of the cabinet has been on the cards for months because some ministers are holding multiple portfolios which is seen as a drag on efficiency. Two key ministries opened up after M Venkaiah Naidu was named Vice President.

Kalraj Mishra, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, may be made a Governor as he has crossed the unofficial bar of 75 years for one to hold a ministerial post at the Centre. More ministers are expected to quit to make way for new faces as the ruling BJP prepares for a series of state elections and then the 2019 national election when PM Modi will be gearing up for a second term, reported NDTV.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu, who has been under adverse spotlight after a spate of derailments, is likely to take over as environment minister - a responsibility that he performed with aplomb under the Vajpayee government.

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Ahead of most speculated Cabinet reshuffle, as many as five Union Ministers have reportedly quit as part of a larger restructuring process. Arun Jaitley is in charge of two heavyweight ministries - finance and defence - while Harsh Vardhan, Smriti Irani and Narendra Singh Tomar are also handling additional charges. The name of Himachal BJP leader Satpal Singh is also doing the rounds for a minister of state berth.

With the Nitsh Kumar-led JD (U) also likely to join the government, its leaders RCP Singh and Santosh Kumar are the likely picks.

Lok Sabha deputy speaker Thambidurai is likely to be inducted as a cabinet minister if AIADMK decides to join NDA. Sources said the PM is so miffed with both his activities and non- performance as minister, that his rehabilitation in the BJP set-up may not be a smooth affair.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Party President Amit Shah is likely to choose the ministers for important posts very carefully with much-calculated result oriented leaders to get higher posts.

  • Sonia Alvarado