Cabinet reshuffle highlights: PM Modi’s govt to get nine new ministers, say sources
In the third such exercise since the NDA took over in May 2014, Prime Minister Narendtra Modi will undertake a reshuffle of his council of ministers at 10am on Sunday.india Updated: Sep 03, 2017 00:09 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hand-picked nine new faces for his council of ministers, sources say, even as the re-allocation of some important portfolios are likely on Sunday. This is probably the last major revamp of Modi’s team ahead of the 2019 general elections. The new ministers will be sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, which will start at 10 am. The Prime Minister will leave for China to attend the BRICS summit Sunday afternoon.
Highlights of the day.
11:03pm: Swearing-in ceremony of new ministers of the Union government will take place at 10.30 am on Sunday, September 3, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, tweets @rashtrapatibhvn, the official handle of the President of India.
11:00pm: Shiv Pratap Shukla on his possible induction: “I will believe the information to be authentic only when I get it from official sources.”
10:25pm: Ashwini Kumar Choubey, another BJP leader who will likely take oath on Sunday, says he will try his best to honour the trust placed on him by PM Modi. Celebrations begin at his home in Delhi.
10:22pm: Gajendra S Shekhawat, who has reportedly been inducted into the Union cabinet, tells ANI: “Want to thank PM that he trusted me with such a responsibility, it’s a chance to work for country.”
10:00pm: BJP’s Virendra Kumar says, “I have always fulfilled responsibilities the party leadership gave me.” He thanks PM Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and senior leaders after making the cut.
9:58pm: “The inclusion of JD(U) would have been great. It would have helped Bihar,” says JD(U) MP Kaushalendra Kumar. There was a buzz that the NDA partner will join the Union cabinet. But no one from the JD(U) has made the cut.
9:46pm: Sources said the new ministers are going to be strategically placed in key ministries, as PM Modi looks to deliver on his “vision of a New India”.
9:45pm: Sources said as a part of the restructuring exercise, six incumbent ministers have resigned and they will be “freed up for taking on other responsibilities”.
9:40pm: Satya Pal Singh tells ANI: “I have not been officially informed, but whatever is party and PM’s decision I am ready for it.”
9:12pm:The new ministers --- Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan’s Jodhpur; Satya Pal Singh, LS MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat; Alphons Kannanthanam, a distinguished former IAS officer of the 1979 batch, Kerala cadre.
9:11pm: The new ministers --- Raj Kumar Singh, Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Arrah; Hardeep Singh Puri, a decorated former IFS officer.
9:10pm: The new ministers --- Virendra Kumar (SC), Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgah; Anantkumar Hegde, Lok Sabha MP from Karnataka.
9:09pm:The new ministers --- Pratap Shukla, Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh; Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Buxar.
9:07pm: The Modi government picks nine new ministers, say sources.
8:20pm: Andhra Pradesh BJP president Khari Babu is likely to join the Union cabinet, say media reports.
8:01pm: Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan reaches BJP president Amit Shah’s residence in Delhi.
8:00pm: The Congress has raised questions on whether the ministers who may be removed or have resigned have any link to corruption cases that are being probed, PTI reports. It has also accused the Centre of being “selective” and “opportunistic” in dealing with opposition leaders under investigation in corruption cases . “The Prime Minister and the government of India must share the names and departments of persons who have been specifically named,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi tells reporters.
7:45pm: Nitin Gadkari tells ANI that it is PM Modi’s prerogative who should be given what responsibility. “He is the one to decide...”
7:15pm: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) says that the cabinet reshuffle is completely meaningless as it is just a game to divert the public’s mind from the failure of demonetisation. “The cabinet reshuffle is completely meaningless. It is like musical chairs. After the failure of demonetisation, the general mood in the country is that this government has miserably failed. They want to divert attention from this. And, that is why they are playing the game of Cabinet reshuffle,” party general secretary Sitaram Yechury tells ANI.
5:06pm: “We have no information...We got information only from media,” news agency ANI quotes Bihar CM Nitish Kumar as saying. Kumar was talking about the cabinet reshuffle.
Earlier, sources in Kumar’s JD(U) told PTI that they had not been informed about their participation in the government. “Our MPs are in Delhi. There was never any issue in the party over participating in the government but there has been no communication to us even though the reshuffle is tomorrow,” a senior JD(U) leader says.
4:00pm: Meanwhile, there’s uncertainty over the participation of the AIADMK and the JD(U) in the Union cabinet. Internal troubles in the AIADMK, which has been hit by a rebellion led by TTV Dinakaran, can prove to be a stumbling block in its joining the government, reports ANI.
3:45pm: NDA partner Shiv Sena has not received any communication from the BJP over the inclusion of its members in the Union cabinet, party chief Uddhav Thackeray says. “I have got news about the Cabinet expansion only from media. I have not enquired about it (from the central BJP leadership). I have neither received any communication from anybody nor are we hungry for power,” Thackeray tells reporters in Mumbai.
2:26pm: Union minister of micro, small and medium enterprises Kalraj Mishra too has resigned ahead of Sunday’s cabinet reshuffle. Mishra, 77, says he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave his resignation. He claimed the Prime Minister told him that his performance in the ministry was good. “So the question of non-performance does not arise in my case,” he tells the media.
Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya resigned on Friday, adding to the list of ministers who have put in their papers in the past forty-eight hours to make way for new faces. The ministers who have already resigned include minister of state Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who held independent charge of skill development ministry.
1:20pm: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad tells ANI: “If reshuffling is happening on the basis of work, then Prime Minister Modi should be included in this. Because Prime Minister Modi’s work was the worst be it promises on employment, farmers, law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir, or demonetization.”
Why the reshuffle
In rejigging his team, Modi is expected to strike a balance between his agenda of governance — by plugging gaps in terms of competence and dynamism in his council of ministers — and political expediency — by giving representation to about half-a-dozen states going to polls by the end of 2018 and reflecting the ruling party’s new social engineering formula.
BJP sources said he is likely to put a premium on performance in the re-allocation of portfolios, as was the hint from the list of ministers who were asked to put in their papers.
Of the 73 members of the Union council of ministers, at least eight are likely to be edged out. There can be a maximum of 81 members, which gives the Prime Minister the option of inducting at least 15 new faces in the government. He is, however, unlikely to fill up all vacancies.
Modi and BJP president Amit Shah met on Thursday evening and the two were understood to have discussed the names that could be considered for induction. The JD(U), which joined the NDA recently, is likely to get two ministerial berths.
Some important portfolios, held as additional charges by ministers, are likely to be re-allocated. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, for instance, holds the additional charge of defence ministry. Asked about this dual charge at a function on Thursday evening, Jaitley said, “At least, I hope, not very long.”
Suresh Prabhu offered to quit as railway minister after a train accident last week. The PM has asked him to “wait”. There is an old proposal to integrate infrastructure ministries including road transport & highways, shipping and the railways.
The PM has not given any indication whether the proposal is back on his table, but BJP sources did not rule out its possibility.
The other ministries given to four ministers as additional charge are information and broadcasting, environment and forests, and urban development and housing.
There was speculation in the ruling party circles about the likelihood of Smriti Irani retaining I&B ministry but HT could not independently confirm it.
(With agency inputs)