All available indications suggest that the much-expected reshuffle of the union council of ministers may be delayed by at least a fortnight, until the inauspicious Shraddh period ends on October 14.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for more than two hours on Wednesday, leading to speculation that the reshuffle would be imminent. Party sources, however, said the "exercise was not complete."
President Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to return back to the capital from Kashmir on Friday, leaving only the window of two days if the reshuffle were to take place immediately given that the inauspicious period begins on September 30.
But Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said there was no intimation of reshuffle as of Thursday. The swearing-in of Justice Altamas Kabir as the Chief Justice of India is scheduled for Saturday.
A delay in the reshuffle may give DMK more time to decide. DMK chief M Karunanidhi had conveyed to union minister V Narayanasamy that no one from his party needed to be included in the cabinet to fill the berths vacated by A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran. This was prompted by differences within DMK.
However, DMK parliamentary party leader TR Baalu has been very keen on becoming a union minister. But this was shot down by Karunanidhi’s son and union minister MK Alagiri. The PM, sources said, was also not keen on re-inducting Baalu.
Karunanidhi wanted a cabinet berth for Kanimozhi but she is yet to be cleared in the 2G case. MK Stalin — another son of the DMK patriarch — insisted the party should not send its nominees to the "tainted" Congress-led cabinet. While Alagiri wants a berth for Rajya Sabha MP KP Ramalingam, Kanimozhi argues for inducting Lok Sabha MP Helen Davidson.