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Cabinet reshuffle likely today
Pranab likely to get External Affairs Ministry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
The much-speculated Cabinet reshuffle and expansion is expected to place tomorrow. Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to be given the charge of the External Affairs Ministry.

Sources said Congress President, Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister had a meeting over the issue here today.

Mukherjee, now holding the Defence portfolio, has emerged as the front-runner for the External Affairs slot in view of his experience in the Government and his own earlier stint in the ministry during Narasimha Rao's regime.

The ministry has been headless since November last year when K Natwar Singh was forced to resign in the wake of the controversy over Volcker report on UN Oil for Food programme in Iraq.

On his part, Mukherjee told reporters today that it is Prime Minister's prerogative to make changes in the Cabinet and for him External Affairs was not a new subject.

The names of Union Ministers Kamal Nath and Kapil Sibal, former minister Karan Singh and Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna have been doing the rounds for External Affairs Minister's post.

Meanwhile, sources said some new faces are also likely to be inducted into the Cabinet as a swearing in ceremony is being organised. A new minister is expected for the Labour Ministry as well. Sources said Sanjeeva Reddy and Vayalara Ravi are in the race for the post.

Some ministers from states like Orissa are also likely to be inducted as they are not currently represented in the Cabinet. Speculation is also rife about the choice of the new Defence Minister.



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