Prime Minister Narendra Modi may expand his council of ministers before April, said sources, where some new faces could be inducted, including a Shiv Sena nominee.
It has also been said that if the BJP forms the government in Jammu and Kashmir, its alliance partner may get a cabinet berth.
After taking over in May, Modi had expanded his team in early November inducting 21 new faces.
Post-expansion, the cabinet has 26 cabinet ministers, 13 ministers of state (MoS) with independent charge and 26 other MoS, apart from the PM.
Modi may use the opportunity to send a strong signal to non-performing ministers and those that have stoked controversies. He may also award those who performed well, for instance, MoS for finance Jayanth Sinha may be given additional charge of MoS corporate affairs, said sources.
It is also likely that Shiv Sena nominee Anil Desai — who was left out of the cabinet reshuffle and expansion the last time as the BJP and Sena could not, till then, reach an understanding over government formation in Maharashtra — may be made an MoS with independent charge.
Sena leaders, however, are hopeful of getting another berth too. “We hope to get two more ministers inducted,” a senior Sena leader said.
BJP vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is likely to enter the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra against the vacancy created following the death of veteran Murli Deora in November.
The election to this Rajya Sabha seat could be announced after the Delhi elections.
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Rao Saheb Danve Patil, will also be replaced by another Maharashtra MP in the council of ministers.