Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, swearing-in of new ministers at 10 am

Amit Shah

"A process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan at around 10 am on Sunday", a top government official told PTI. While party sources maintained that Bharti was bowing out because of health issues, sources close to the minister insist she made no such offer. She was reportedly upset about it as well.

An excel sheet was prepared of the ministers classified as "positive" and "negative" based on their work, which was submitted to the Prime Minister and BJP national president Amit Shah. "The media sought my reaction on reports in circulation". One of them is Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra, who is likely to be sent to Maharashtra. However, while Pawar seems undecided on dumping his alliance with the Congress in favour of the BJP for now, the factional feuds within the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu have forced the BJP to put the plan of inducting a member of the party as a central minister on hold. Keshari Nath Tripathi is West Bengal Governor but is also acting as Bihar's governor after Ram Nath Kovind became the President of India last month. If this hapens, he would also have to vacate his Lok Sabha seat. "Because, the Prime Minister believes in complete concentration of power", party spokesperson Anand Sharma said here.

Kulaste tendered his resignation on Thursday.

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The Cabinet reshuffle will be closely watched to gauge the message PM Modi wishes to send ahead of the 2019 General Elections. However, the recent deaths of children due to encephalitis and other diseases across states may have prompted Modi to place more experienced hands in the ministry.

Ahead of the Union Cabinet re-shuffle, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Friday resigned from his Cabinet post. The reasons for his quitting are not clear yet. The name of Himachal BJP leader Satpal Singh is also doing the rounds for a minister of state berth. Besides, Uttar Pradesh is far too important a state electorally for the state party chief to juggle responsibilities.

Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka will go to polls in 2018.

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Five factors-vacancy in key ministries, mid-term appraisal of the performance of the ministers, forthcoming Assembly elections, gubernatorial assignments and realignment of NDA - have necessitated a cabinet reshuffle.

Ministers who are handling dual portfolios will be given only one portfolio. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has the additional charge of Defence and Narendra Singh Tomar, who is already burdened with rural development, panchayati raj, drinking water and sanitation departments, was given the additional charge of Urban Development Ministry.

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