The third major Cabinet reshuffle in Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), that came to power in 2014 after a landslide victory, is geared for one final makeover; this time before the all important General Elections in year 2019.

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is extremely tight lipped about the launch of its fresh Cabinet, however, the exemplary signs with eight ministers’ resigning in past two days clearly makes room for a host of new faces being inducted on Sunday 10 AM in Rashtrapati Bhawan; before PM Modi leaves for China to attend the BRICKS summit.

Meanwhile, reacting to the news of reshuffle, BJP’s ally Shiv Sena slammed the Saffron Party for keeping them away with the development. Shiv Sena claimed that it was only through media that they came to know about it.

“Got to know about Cabinet reshuffle from media. Everyone worries about what happens at the centre but I care about Mumbai,” said Uddhav Thackeray.

The new faces likely to join the union government include Bhupendra Yadav, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, both Rajya Sabha members, Satyapal Singh, Prahlad Patel, Mahesh Girri and Harish Dwivedi (all members of Lok Sabha).

Reportedly, National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ram Madhav is dubbed to get a major portfolio in the upcoming reshuffle. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra may also be given a key berth in the Cabinet.

With Janata Dal-United (JD-U) back with NDA, the party might find its nominees into the ministry. From the JD-U quota Rajya Sabha MP RCP Singh and Santosh Kumar are strong contenders.

Ally Shiv Sena may get one more berth with Anil Desai, a Rajya Sabha member, making the grade. However, the other new ally AIADMK, about which much has been speculated, is unlikely to get berths for now in view of the fact that the party is undergoing a period of crisis.

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.

Earlier, Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy along with four others resigned from their posts. As per sources, Rudy, who held the independent charge in the ministry of State Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is expected to be assigned organizational work. The BJP sources said that the decision to seek resignations from ministers was based purely on performance.

Speaking on his resignation, Rudy said it was the decision of the party and he had resigned. Balyan said he was asked to resign and he would always follow the party directives.

However, Uma Bharti was evasive when asked if she had resigned. “I have not heard your questions. I have no right to speak on the issue. Only those who have been authorised by the party chief can speak,” she informed the media.

Understandingly, ministers, including Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal and Manoj Sinha, are likely to be promoted. Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari’s name is doing the rounds for the Railway Minister’s post. There is speculation that an integrated Ministry of Transport, including all the portfolios held by Gadkari, could be created.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had offered to quit last week in the wake of two major back-to-back train derailments that claimed more than 30 lives. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept it on hold.

There is speculation that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may shed the additional charge of Defence he is holding now. Jaitley has been holding additional charge of the Defence Ministry after Manohar Parikkar left the portfolio to take charge as the Chief Minister of Goa.

The last Cabinet reshuffle took place in July last year, in which Modi inducted 19 new faces and elevated Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar to Cabinet rank. Five junior ministers were also dropped.

The size of the ministry at the moment is 73, including the Prime Minister. Of them 24 are of the Cabinet rank, 12 Ministers of State with independent charge while 36 are Ministers of State. (With Agency Inputs)

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