The next reshuffle of the council of ministers will focus on inducting fresh faces to create a positive perception for the controversy-ridden government.
Manish Tewari, Meenakshi Natrajan, Jyoti Mirdha and Manicka Tagore are likely to find slots as ministers of state, while veteran Janardan Dwivedi may become a cabinet minister.
While Chiranjeevi’s entry into the union ministry is almost certain, Renuka Chowdhury is yet another hopeful.
Also, ministers of state Oscar Fernandes and K Rehman Khan could get cabinet berths, while Salman Khurshid is likely to lose the minority affairs ministry and retain only law and Kapil Sibal may retain telecom and lose HRD, claim government sources.
At least eight ministers are holding more than one portfolio and some of them are also occupying party posts. Apart from Khurshid and Sibal, the other ministers who hold multiple portfolios are Vayalar Ravi (micro, small and medium enterprises, science and technology and earth sciences and overseas Indian affairs), M Veerappa Moily (power and corporate affairs), Anand Sharma (commerce and industry and textiles), Pawan Kumar Bansal (parliamentary affairs and water resources) and Kumari Selja (housing and urban poverty alleviation and culture).
Besides, Shashi Tharoor, who resigned in the wake of a controversy over the Kochi IPL cricket franchise, is trying to return to the ministry.
The reshuffle could happen before the Shraddh period, which begins from September-end and considered inauspicious by Hindus, party sources claim.
After Pranab Mukherjee’s election as the President, there is one vacancy from West Bengal which could be filled by Deepa Das Munshi or Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Vilas Muttemwar from Maharashtra could fill the vacancy created by Vilasrao Deshmukh’s death last month.
However, some ministers – Subodh Kant Sahai being one of them -- are in the risk of being dropped, but no final decision has yet been taken. Recently, the BJP furnished a letter Sahai had written to the Prime Minister requesting for allotment of coal blocks to SK Ispat and Power, a private firm in which his own brother Sudhir Sahai is reported to be a major stakeholder. The fate of coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, facing allegations of irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks, is uncertain.
On its part, the DMK has been demanding replacements for Dayanidhi Maran and A Raja, both of whom resigned in the wake of the 2G-spectrum scam. S Jagathrakshakan is also facing allegations that his family firm got coal blocks allocated in Odisha. TR Baalu and TKS Elangovan could be the possible replacements.