PM Manmohan Singh’s return from his foreign trip has raised expectations of a possible cabinet reshuffle in June.
He and Congress president Sonia Gandhi reportedly have to first take a view whether the reshuffle should be a minor exercise or a major one that gives a new look to the team and wipes out the negativities of the last two years.
Sources said the revamp will be major if there is a swap in major portfolios as for instance between finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram. A change of guard is unlikely in the defence ministry. And though a section is keen on it, there may not be a change in the offing in the ministry of foreign affairs, which was for all practical purposes being run by the PM and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon.
Some Congress leaders may be shifted from the government to the party organisation. Former Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, whose name cropped up in the Adarsh scam, could be one of them. Pressure is being exerted to shift Jairam Ramesh from environment and forests to some other ministry.
As touching the major portfolios may not be easy, many expect the reshuffle to be minor. But among the possible inductions include Deepa Dasmunsi from West Bengal. The Trinamool Congress may get an additional berth as after Mamata Banerjee became chief minister, she put her loyalist Mukul Roy in there as a minister of state for railways.
There is a possibility that following the party’s victories in Assam and Kerala, Bhubaneswar Kalita and Ramesh Chennitala may find a place in the council of ministers.
Though the Congress has hardly ever followed the one-man one-post principle, it remains to be seen whether the tribal affairs minister Kantilal Bhuria will be replaced as he has the daunting task of rebuilding the party in Madhya Pradesh before the assembly polls.