Cabinet reshuffle on the cards, Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigns

Uma Bharti and Rajiv Pratap Rudy were among four ministers who resigned from the Cabinet on Thursday

Uma Bharti and Rajiv Pratap Rudy were among four ministers who resigned from the Cabinet on Thursday

A cabinet reshuffle has been on the cards since Manohar Parrikar resigned as Defence Minister to become Chief Minister of Goa.

A reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers appeared imminent with minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigning yesterday night amid speculation that some more ministers may quit ahead of the exercise expected before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for China on Sunday.

However, the faction-ridden AIADMK is not likely to be invited to join the Cabinet.

Whereas Mahendra Nath Pandey was appointed Uttar Pradesh BJP president in place of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, creating one more vacancy in the Council of Ministers. Rudy is expected to make way for the inclusion of a JD (U) member in the Cabinet.

The people said Kalraj Mishra, who had met Shah on Thursday, may also resign. However, confirmation was awaited.

Rudy said BJP president Amit Shah conveyed him the decision that he should step down as a minister.

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There is speculation that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley may shed the additional charge of Defence he is holding now.

Sources said that Mr Rudy, a three-time MP from Saran in Bihar, landed at Patna on Thursday accompanied by his wife. Former Union minister Venkaiah Naidu's urban development portfolio may be included in the rejig. Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan is holding additional charge of the Environment portfolio following the demise of Anil Madhav Dave in May. Both parties may be accommodated in the Cabinet.

Sources said that it is only after after this development that these leaders have offered to resign from their posts. In case of them joining the BJP-led camp, they are likely to be offered a berth in the Cabinet.

The election in Gujarat is due at the end of this year and the party will soon launch its poll slogan "Garaje Gujarat".

The last cabinet reshuffle took place in July a year ago in which Modi inducted 19 new faces and elevated Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar to cabinet rank. Sources, in this context, also said that Cabinet Minister Uma Bharti had offered to quit a few days ago but there was no official word on her.

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