Pranab offers two cabinet berths to DMK: Reports | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Pranab offers two cabinet berths to DMK: Reports

delhi Updated: Jul 09, 2011 21:11 IST

Finance minister and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee is understood to have offered two cabinet berths to DMK on Saturday to fill vacancies but party chief M Karunanidhi has reportedly expressed reluctance to accept it, at least for the time being.

Mukherjee met Karunanidhi in Chennai and is understood to have raised the issue of DMK sending its replacements to Maran and A Raja, who had quit earlier.

Karunandhi has conveyed to the Congress leadership that a decision on it can be taken only at the party's General Council meeting on July 23-24 in Coimbatore where the DMK is expected to review the political situation in the aftermath of the electoral debacle, including its relations with Congress.

After the meeting, Mukherjee merely said the alliance with DMK would be strengthened and parried a question whether DMK's replacements in the Cabinet was discussed.

Hectic consultations are on at the highest levels in the government and UPA on a reshuffle of the Union council of ministers which is expected to take place early next week.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the third time in more than a fortnight and is understood to have given finishing touches to the restructuring exercise that acquired an urgency in the wake of resignation by Dayanidhi Maran and offer to quit by corporate affairs minister Murli Deora.

There was no official word on what transpired between the two but speculation was rife that the reshuffle could take place as early as Monday evening also.

The Prime Minister, after a minor rejig in the council of ministers in January, had said that he would undertake a major reshuffle. No one was dropped in that exercise.

There are a number of vacancies in the Union cabinet like railways following resignation of Mamata Banerjee who became West Bengal chief minister, and textiles in the wake of Dayanidhi Maran's resignation on the 2G issue.

There are a number of ministers holding dual charge like Kapil Sibal who has telecom and HRD. PK Bansal handles portfolios of science and technology, earth sciences and parliamentary affairs.

Civil aviation is being held by Vayalar Ravi, the minister for overseas Indian affairs.

Elevation of some ministers, particularly from Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls next year is expected. There is also possibility of dropping some ministers considered to be non-performing.

There is talk that the big four -- finance, home, defence and external affairs -- may not be touched in the reshuffle and some newcomers like Janardhan Dwivedi and Manish Tewari could make it to the council of ministers.