Four more Ministers stepped down from the UPA Cabinet on Saturday, ahead of the reshuffle scheduled to be held on Sunday morning.
With External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna putting in his papers on Friday, a total of five Ministers have quit the Cabinet so far.
On Saturday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, and Minister of State for Justice and Empowerment Mahadev Khandela, are reported to have met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and submitted their resignations.
Soni, Wasnik and Sahai told reporters that they had resigned as they were “keen to work to strengthen the party organisation.”
The swearing- in of the new Ministers would take place at 11-30 a.m on Sunday, reports citing Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said.
With the Lok Sabha elections due in 2014, Sunday’s Cabinet reshuffle is being seen as the UPA’s last bid to give fresh impetus to governance issues, after being battered by the Opposition for the series of scams and rising prices of essentials.
Meanwhile, speculation was rife about the likely “new faces” in the Cabinet after six Trinamool Congress Ministers quit in July, following the party’s withdrawal of support to the UPA Government. Some other vacancies were caused by the resignation of two DMK Ministers, the quitting of Virbhadra Singh and the death of Vilasrao Deshmukh, leaving many incumbent Ministers holding dual charge.
The buzz was that some West Bengal Congress leaders may be brought to the Centre, such as Deepa Das Munshi (brother of the late Malda Congress leader A.B.A. Ghani Khan Choudhury), and Pradeep Bhattacharya.
This is apart from the possible induction and upgradation of Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi’s hand-picked ‘young’ leaders.
Chiranjeevi may get Cabinet berth
Our Hyderabad Bureau reports: Actor-turned politician K. Chiranjeevi, K. Suryaprakash Reddy (son of former State Chief Minister Kotla Vijayabhaskar Reddy), Killi Krupa Rani, Balram Naik, and Sarve Satyanarayana, MPs from Andhra Pradesh, have been sounded out for Cabinet berth by the Congress leadership. The State’s representation in the Cabinet will get a major boost if they are inducted.