With the cabinet reshuffle behind him, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is looking ahead and has called a meeting of his new council of ministers on Thursday.
This is the first such meeting in UPA-II, sources said. “When UPA-II came to power (in May 2009), there was a dinner hosted by the PM after the council of ministers was sworn in. But that was a political gathering with several alliance leaders present. Thursday’s meeting is exclusively for the ministers,” a top UPA minister told HT.
After Tuesday’s reshuffle, there are now 78 ministers in the government, including the PM.
The meeting is scheduled for 5pm at the PM’s office at 7, Race Course Road. No agenda has been fixed. Sources said Singh is likely to set the priorities in the government’s aam aadmi agenda before his new team. With some ministers publicly displaying disappointment over their portfolios, he is also likely to talk about coordination among ministries.
“I think the PM will tell us what he is expecting from his team,” said minister of state for urban development Saugata Ray.
Top ministers such as P Chidambaram (home) and Pranab Mukherjee (finance) are also expected to share their views. “The PM may ask other ministers to express their opinions freely but it will also be an opportunity to show his political authority,” said a source.
Earlier, the PM had called a special meeting of all ministers of state after receiving several complaints that senior ministers were not allotting any work to them. That meeting failed to yield the desired result.