After the resignation of Junior Home Minister Amit Shah, who is now in jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is set to expand his cabinet on Aug 21.
“The state government has intimated the Raj Bhawan for expansion of the ministry,” a senior official in the CMO told HT. He added that the Raj Bhawan has now fixed the date for swearing in ceremony on August 21 at 12:39 pm.
Sources told HT that around five MLAs will be inducted as ministers in the cabinet while some MoS rank ministers can be promoted to cabinet rank. Parshottam Solanki, minister of state for fisheries, is likely to be made cabinet minister because he has demanded his promotion.
After Shah’s resignation, Modi had distributed portfolios to four cabinet colleagues but now new MLAs will be inducted into the cabinet in order to redistribute the portfolios. Shah as minister of state was handling as many as 10 portfolios including home, jail, prohibition, civil defense, law and justice, parliamentary affairs and police housing.
After the Modi government was sworn in in January 2007, two ministers Maya Kodanani and Amit Shah have resigned. Maya Kodanani was arrested in connection with Naroda Patia massacre and he is out on bail now while Amit Shah has been arrested in connection with Sohrabudding fake encounter case.
Secondly, timing of the expansion is significant because Gujarat is set to see the local elections in six municipal corporations including Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, over 20 district panchayats and over 150 block panchayats and municipalities in October November this year.
“It appears that CM wants to win the local elections so he wants to keep the party MLAs in good humour,” a senior BJP leader said, adding, “More importantly, after Amitbhai’s exit from the ministry, cabinet is divided into two. A section of ministers, mostly Patels, are happy because Shah was considered next to CM Modi only.”