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Karan likely to be Foreign Minister

Also, JMM leader Shibu Soren may be re-inducted as Coal Minister. Present lot

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 19:47 IST

Finally, the long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle will take place on Sunday morning, according to top officials in the Prime Minister's Office.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday met Congress President and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to discuss the impending Cabinet reshuffle.

Sources pointed out that the reshuffle is imminent at this time around in view of the advancing of the Budget Session of Parliament to February 16 and President APJ Abdul Kalam's 10-day foreign visit beginning on January 31.

According to sources, Manmohan Singh had more or less finalised the nature of the reshuffle in consultation with Sonia Gandhi and the final structure will be chalked out during the course of their meeting.

According to unconfirmed reports, veteran parliamentarian and a foreign affairs expert Karan Singh has been tipped to be the new Minister for External Affair.

JMM leader Shibu Soren, who could not continue as Jharkhand Chief Minister having lost his majority, is likely to be re-inducted into the Cabinet as the Union Coal Minister.

There are about half a dozen vacancies in the Manmohan Singh ministry arising from the resignation of External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh following the oil-for-food scam, deaths of Power Minister PM Sayeed and Sports Minister Sunil Dutt, shifting of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and K Rahman Khan becoming Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Another vacancy was created by the resignation of Jagdish Tytler, who was a Minister of State holding independent charge of the NRI Affairs portfolio, in the wake of the Nanavati Commission's report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Minister of State for Water Resources Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav resigned in the wake of an arrest warrant issued against him in a case relating to his alleged involvement in the escape of his brother from police custody.

Among the names doing the rounds for possible induction into the 20-month-old UPA government are Ambika Soni, Motilal Vora and Saifuddin Soz,, AK Anthony, Vayalar Ravi and Salman Khurshid.

Sources indicated that Prithviraj Chavan may be moved out of the Prime Minister's Office and given an independent charge of a ministry.

The Prime Minister had no problems in going for the changes as Sonia Gandhi had reconstituted the party apparatus, including the Congress Working Committee, and the Congress Plenary was also over, the sources pointed out.

The sources said Prime Minister Singh had more or less finalised the nature of the reshuffle in consultation with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 11:53 IST