M A I N   N E W S

Modi govtís first Cabinet rejig today
20 ministers to be inducted
Goa ex-CM Parrikar tipped for Defence
Sena MP may get berth
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
The first reshuffle and expansion of the Narendra Modi Cabinet on Sunday afternoon is likely to see 20 inductions, including BJP leaders Manohar Parrikar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Bandaru Datttatreya. Many probables have received calls from the PM to be present during the swearing-in at Rashtrapati Bhavanís Durbar Hall.

Apart from the most-talked-about induction of Manohar Parrikar, former Goa Chief Minister who resigned today, sources say senior BJP leader from Himachal Pradesh Jagat Prakash Nadda, Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur and BJP's prominent Muslim face Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi may get Cabinet berths. Sources say the PM is conducting this exercise to cater to the allies' demands keeping in mind regional aspirations, the caste factor and the party's electoral considerations.

If included, Haryana BJP leader Birender Singh will cater to Jats, whose support is important for the party in the upcoming Delhi polls. The BJP has recently made a non-Jat leader as the Haryana CM. Asansol MP Babul Supriyo, one of the two BJP MPs from West Bengal, is also expected to be included in the Council of Ministers. His induction will have an impact in the state currently being ruled by the Trinamool Congress.

Apart from catering to the needs of regions and castes, the PM appears to have taken care of the long-pending demand of allies having more MPs.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) with 16 MPs and the Shiv Sena with 18 have nominated YS Chowdhary and Anil Desai, respectively. The two Rajya Sabha members are expected to be made Ministers of State.

Industrialist-turned-politician TDP's Chowdhary raised the slogan of "Save Andhra Pradesh" in the upper house for many days before Telangana was formed. He is believed to be close to TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu.

By nominating Desai, the Shiv Sena seems to have resolved its differences with the BJP over power-sharing in Maharashtra. The development comes after days of bickering between the BJP and Shiv Sena. Unlike the massive ceremony at the forecourt in May, tomorrow's swearing-in will take place in Durbar Hall.

Before the swearing-in, Modi will host breakfast for the newcomers in the Council of Ministers.

Sources say Modi wants to give representation to states such as Bihar and Rajasthan in the government. Besides, work is also suffering in some departments as some ministers are holding more than two portfolios, said sources.

The current strength of the Council of Ministers is 45 of which 23, including the PM, are of the Cabinet rank and 22 are Ministers of State, including 10 with independent charge.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will return to the Union Council of Ministers 15 years after his stint as the Minister of state (Information and Broadcasting) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. A member of Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, he is currently the vice-president of the BJP.

The name of Gautam Budh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma is also doing the rounds. The new Council of Ministers may also have Vijay Sampla, a Dalit and a first-time Lok Sabha MP from Hoshiarpur.

Bihar, where the BJP is hoping to strike big, may see more than two ministers. Apart from Giriraj Singh, senior leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy and former RJD leader Ram Kripal Yadav are favourites.

From Rajasthan, silver medallist in Olympics Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, is a hot contender to become a minister along with Sonaram Chaudhary and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

Ajay Tamta from Uttarakhand, Jayant Sinha, son of former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha from Jharkhand, Hansraj Ahir from Maharashtra and Ramesh Bais from Chhattisgarh are also in the race. Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is Prime Minister's man for the G-20 Summit, is widely being speculated as the head of a new body that will replace the Planning Commission.

A giant leap for Parrikar

Manohar Parrikar (59), who is tipped to be the new Defence Minister, resigned on Saturday as the Goa CM. For the IIT graduate, who is believed to share good rapport with the PM, it is a giant leap to Delhi. He will be high up in the hierarchy standing next to Modi, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley in the pecking order.





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