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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will expand his council of ministers on Sunday; an exercise that is expected to make the Cabinet more representative socially, streamline work distribution, and balance power equations — both within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and with allies.
The swearing-in of new Ministers is scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon, two days before Mr Modi will depart on a 10-day foreign tour.
Though there has been no official word, two clear signals on Thursday indicated that the reshuffle and expansion of the council was imminent.
The first hint came from Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar, who told reporters in Panaji: “Party president Amit Shah spoke to me in the morning and asked me to accept any assignment that would be given by the Prime Minister.” Mr Parikkar, who is tipped to be the new defence minister, met Mr Modi and Mr Shah on Wednesday.
In the second indication, during an interaction at the World Economic Forum’s India summit, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said: “You will know the details about the Cabinet expansion in a couple of days.” Earlier, Mr Naidu had walked off the stage to take a phone call, apparently from Mr Modi. Mr Naidu’s TDP, an ally of the BJP, is expected to get an extra slot in the Cabinet.
There are currently 44 ministers, 22 of them with cabinet rank. Several of them have multiple ministries such as Mr Arun Jaitley who holds both finance and defence portfolios. Some Ministers are likely to be dropped and some Ministers of State are expected to be elevated to cabinet rank in the exercise, BJP sources told The Hindu.
From: The Hindu