Cabinet expansion likely on May 28; fight for berths on
The Union Council of Ministers is expected to be expanded on Thursday during which representatives of DMK and other UPA allies would be among those inducted in the government.
The indications of the second phase of swearing-in taking place on Thursday came after a Congress core group meeting chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The meeting, which was attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony, political secretary to the Congress president Ahmed Patel, discussed threadbare allocation of ministerial berths and portfolios.
Sources said issues related to allocation of ministerial berths and portfolios have been sorted out with all allies.
There was speculation that Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mamata Banerjee wanted eight ministerial berths -- one Cabinet and seven Ministers of State -- against the seven -- one Cabinet and six MoS -- already allocated to her party.
However, sources said there were no issues with TMC.
NCP leader Praful Patel will retain Civil Aviation, the sources said after the meeting.
Even in Congress, there have been pulls and pressures over the ministerial berths and portfolios, but sources said such matters have been addressed.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi yesterday had a four-hour-long meeting to discuss expansion of the council of ministers which was initially expected today.