Modi may induct new faces from poll-bound states, Jaitley could retain defence

Speculations are rife that the Narendra Modi Cabinet is up for reshuffle and expansion in a few days time. With railway minister Suresh Prabhu offering to resign after two major train accidents within days of each other, the long overdue reshuffle of Cabinet portfolios seems imminent. Rumours suggest that a new incumbent in the Rail Bhawan is expected soon.

A report in The Economic Times states that Modi is highly likely to give the job to a senior minister with economic governance credentials. CNN-News 18, in their Wednesday’s reportage, claimed that Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari may get the charge, given his reputation for pushing infrastructural developments efficiently.

File image of BJP chief Amit Shah with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP

A OneIndia report speculates that Arun Jaitley may be given full charge of the defence ministry, with both China and Pakistan needling India, while the finance ministry may go to power minister Piyush Goyal.

Another website India Samvadstated that Vinay Sahasrabuddhe could be picked to head the defence portfolio, owing to his clean image and RSS backing, while Jaitley may retain finance.

Modi government has been running short of hands for a while now. The buzz around the reshuffle started when the country was left without a full-time defence minister after Manohar Parrikar was sent off to head the Goa government.

Jaitley has been filling in the post since March. Assam chief minister Sarabnanda Sonowal was also relieved of his portfolio after the Assam elections. Modi lost another key minister in M Venkaiah Naidu, who was chosen to become the Vice-President of India.

Besides this, other prominent ministries like environment are being run by ministers as additional charges, giving rise to speculations that new appointees may be inducted into the Cabinet. Environment ministry portfolio was reallocated to science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan after the sudden demise of Anil Madhav Dave.

Portfolios vacated…

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