Union Cabinet rejig being worked out

Rajiv Pratap Rudy

Few other leaders also resigned last evening, hinting towards a mega cabinet reshuffle, ahead of the 2019 general elections when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek a second term, to be held before Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his visit to China to attend the BRICS summit on Sunday.

The ministers who have so far resigned include Rajiv Pratap Rudy, minister of state for skill development, Mahendra Lal Pandey, HRD minister of state, and Sanjiv Baliyan, MoS for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation.

Rudy is expected to be given an organisational assignment in the BJP, sources close to him said. The last cabinet reshuffle took place in July past year in which Modi inducted 19 new faces and elevated Minister of State for Environment Prakash Javadekar to cabinet rank.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had offered to resign owning moral responsibility for the recent train accidents, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put it on hold. Sources also said the Union Agriculture Minister and Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju may be shifted to different portfolios.

Sources said that Mr Rudy, a three-time MP from Saran in Bihar, landed at Patna on Thursday accompanied by his wife.


The new Cabinet is also likely to see the JD (U)'s Ram Chandra Prasad SIngh and Santosh Kushwaha being included.

This will be the third such reshuffle since Modi took over in May 2014.

BJP chief Amit Shah, who held a meeting with some senior ministers at his residence in the morning, met Modi later in the day.

The united AIADMK - comprising of the factions led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and and former CM O Panneerselvam - is also expected to join the NDA. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been holding additional charge of the Defence Ministry since then. Pandey is likely to resign as a Union minister as he assumes his new charge, meaning there will be one more vacancy in the Cabinet. There are several vacancies in the government while some senior ministers, including Arun Jaitley and Harsh Vardhan, are holding additional portfolios. Karnataka will go for assembly polls next year.

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