New Delhi : Aiming to get his party battle-ready for the 2019 general elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake a massive revamp of the Union Cabinet on Sunday morning. Nine new ministers, including former IFS officer Hardeep Puri, ex-Mumbai Police chief
Satyapal Singh and retired IAS officer Alphons Kannanthanam, will be inducted into the PM’s team. Modi is likely to meet the new ministers for breakfast at 7.30 am, ahead of the swearing-in ceremony at 10:30 am.
Even as back-to-back meetings continued throughout Saturday, there were speculations over whether Sushma Swaraj was moving out of the External Affairs Ministry. The buzz was that she could be angling for the defence portfolio.
BJP chief Amit Shah returned to the capital on Saturday after attending a crucial coordination meeting with various RSS outfits in Vrindavan, and he and Modi gave final touches to the changes.
More than half-a-dozen ministers are expected to make way for new faces in the reshuffle while portfolios of some are likely to be changed.
BJP leaders like Bhupender Yadav, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prahlad Patel, Suresh Angadi, Satyapal Singh, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Anurag Thakur, Shobha Karandlaje, Maheish Girri and Prahlad Joshi are being talked about as probable entries into the government. Ashwini Choubey and Pravesh Verma, the late BJP leader Sahib Singh’s son who called on Shah on Saturday, are also seen as contenders for ministerial berths.
While carrying out the re-shuffle, Modi and Amit Shah are also likely to keep an eye on upcoming state elections in Himachal Pra-desh, Gujarat and Karnataka and his party’s re-election bid in 2019.
On Saturday, speculation swirled over the likely defence minister and names of Suresh Prabhu and Nitin Gadkari are doing the rounds. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is currently holding additional charge of defence.
Internal problems in the AIADMK can prove to be a stumbling block in the party joining the government. AIADMK leader Thambidurai, who met Amit Shah on Friday, might be a likely representative from the party along with P. Venugopal and V. Maitreyan if the party decides to join the government.