Amid speculation that a major Cabinet reshuffle is expected in the first fortnight of July, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday met few ministers as part of her consultation process on the issue.
Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was the first to meet Gandhi. Azad like social justice minister Mukul Wasnik holds the dual charge of party general secretary. It remains to be seen if the Congress follows the "one-man-one-post" formula in the next reshuffle, which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised to be an "expansive exercise".
The PM and Gandhi have reportedly held extensive deliberations on the issue.
Gandhi also met micro, small and medium enterprises minister Virbhadra Singh.
However, sources said Azad briefed Gandhi on party's affairs in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu — he is general secretary in charge of both the states — and the veteran from Himachal Pradesh discussed the likely contenders for the post of chairperson of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission. “There was no discussion with the ministers about the Cabinet reshuffle,” a source said.
Speculation is rife that the much-talked about expansion-cum- reshuffle could take place either on July 1-2 or after President Pratibha Patil's return from her Hyderabad sojourn on July 8.
There are few vacancies in the Union council of ministers, including those created by the resignation of DMK's A Raja in the wake of his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum scam and Prithviraj Chavan, who became Maharashtra chief minister after the Congress removed Ashok Chavan from the post in connection with the Adarsh scandal.
There are speculations that some ministers such as Kantilal Bhuria might be dropped. Bhuria has already been appointed as the Madhya Pradesh Congress president.