Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited new leaders joining his team for a pep talk over a cup of tea on Sunday morning, when he is likely to personally inform them about their induction into his council of ministers.
Modi is expanding his team on Sunday for the first time after being in office for around 160 days. Manohar Parrikar (Goa), Giriraj Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav (Bihar), Ramesh Bains (Chhattisgarh), Hansraj Gagaram Ahir (Maharashtra), Vijay Sampla (Punjab), Sanwar Lal Jat (Rajasthan) and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Uttar Pradesh) are prominent among those expected to join Modi’s council of ministers.
There is little chance that Modi will drop any minister, but speculation is rife about a change in the portfolios of a couple of ministers who have failed to live up to the PM’s expectation. Modi also plans to lessen the burden of ministers who have been looking after more than one ministry.
Goa chief minister Parrikar, who is tipped to get the defence ministry, is not an MP and may be brought into the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, where polls to the upper House are scheduled for November 20.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav was also in contention for the berth but the balance seemed to have titled in Parrikar’s favour since he needs to become a member of either house of Parliament within six months of becoming a minister.
The BJP’s parliamentary board will also meet in Delhi on Saturday to elect Parrikar’s successor in Goa.
He will resign immediately after this meeting and a new CM will be sworn in.
The other names doing the rounds include former minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and new faces Jayant Sinha, son of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, Jat leader from Haryana Birender Singh, Bhumiar leader from Bihar Giriraj Singh or Bhola Singh, Col Sonaram Chaudhary and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, both of Rajasthan, and Hansraj Ahir from Maharashtra.
From the allies, the likely names are YS Chowdhary or Ram Mohan Naidu, son of late union minister K Yerran Naidu, of TDP. The name of Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai of Shiv Sena is also doing the rounds but his inclusion may depend on sorting out of issues between BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
Former union minister Suresh Prabhu, who is the Prime Minister's sherpa for G-20 Summit, is widely being speculated as the head of a new body that will replace the Planning Commission. In that capacity, he may get Cabinet rank status.
The strength of the ministry now stands at 45--23 of the level of Cabinet, including the prime minister, and 22 of the Minister of State rank. 10 of the MoS hold independent charge of their ministries.
The defence portfolio is currently held as an additional charge by finance minister Arun Jaitley, who also has corporate affairs ministry under his fold. More than six ministers are currently holding more than one portfolio.
Road transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari also holds the charge of rural development ministry, while law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also has the charge of IT and communications ministry.
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar has I&B ministry as an additional charge while Power Minister Piyush Goyal also looks after Coal and Mines.
Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu also has urban development while Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS in finance ministry, also has independent charge of Commerce.
(With PTI inputs)