Arun Jaitley favourite to become finance minister, may get additional charge of defence

  • Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 26, 2014 16:42 IST

Arun Jaitley seemed to be the obvious candidate for finance minister on a list of Cabinet members prepared by Narendra Modi, who will be sworn in as Prime Minister on Monday evening, sources in the BJP told Reuters.

Sources told HT Jaitley was likely to be given additional charge of the defence ministry.

Around 45 leaders were likely to take the oath of office along with Modi. The list did not include Arun Shourie, another contender for the finance minister's post, the two sources with knowledge of the list told Reuters.

Jaitley, 61, is one of the top corporate lawyers in the country and has served in a previous BJP administration as commerce minister.

However, there is an outside chance that Modi retains the finance post himself with Jaitley getting some other portfolio, another party source said.

The outgoing cabinet of the Congress party government had 70 ministers.

Modi announced late on Sunday that he would streamline the cabinet, a move to a more centralised system of governing that is aimed at breaking decision-making bottlenecks widely blamed for dragging down India's economic growth in recent years.

Modi said he would appoint super ministers in charge of several departments to make ministries coordinate better.

"The focus is on convergence in the activities of various ministries where one cabinet minister will be heading a cluster of ministries who are working in complimentary sectors," he said in a statement.

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