With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi meeting President Pranab Mukherjee separately on Tuesday, political circles are abuzz with renewed speculations about an imminent reshuffle of the Union cabinet.
Soon after the monsoon session of Parliament in September, rumours of a cabinet reshuffle were strong. But the Congress leadership decided to buy more time before the reshuffle which is seen as the last one before facing the next general election.
Sources in Rashtrapati Bhavan indicated that Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi is also slated to meet the President soon.
While a large section of the party is keen on seeing him in the cabinet, Gandhi has so far committed himself only to a “larger role” in the party and the government.
A section of the ruling United Progressive Alliance feels that a reshuffle may be required now after the exit of the seven Trinamool ministers, including railway minister Mukul Roy, as the number of vacancies in the ministry has gone up to 14. The council of ministers can have a maximum of 82 members while there are 68 ministers at present.
Top Congress leaders also see the possibility of those who are handling multiple portfolios getting lesser responsibilities in the new arrangement with the entry of more young ministers to the cabinet.