Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the backdrop of speculation of a cabinet reshuffle.
The meeting also came on a day when the government's plan to push through an ordinance on food security bill came a cropper amid indications that the government could begin the consultation process with the opposition on the issue from Friday.
A reshuffle-cum-expansion of the Union Council of Ministers as well as the AICC has been pending for a long time and is likely happen in a week. This may be the last reshuffle in the UPA 2 with Lok Sabha elections less than a year away.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on May 31 indicated that a cabinet reshuffle could be on the cards to fill up the vacancies.
"There are some vacancies. The issue of filling them up is being considered," Singh had told reporters on his way back from Japan and Thailand. Two Union minsters PK Bansal and Ashwani Kumar resigned in May.
Bansal quit as Railways minister in the wake of bribery scandal involving his nephew and a Railway board member and Kumar resigned as law minister following a controversy over vetting of a CBI probe report on coal block allocation scam.
With DMK and TMC withdrawing support from government within less than a year, a number of slots vacated by them are yet to filled up. Five ministers of DMK had resigned on March 20 this year after which there has been no rejig in the Union Council of Ministers.
Besides, there are a number of other ministers holding more than one portfolios. They are likely to be asked to shed one of them. A number of ministers are also likely to be asked to quit and may be drafted for organisational works in the party ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.
A reshuffle of AICC, which is also long overdue, can also happen a little before or later.