Cabinet Reshuffle : 5 ministers resign to make way for new candidates

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Kunwar Prithvi Singh Chauhan
Part time journalist, full-time observer. Editor-in-Chief at The Indian Wire. I cover updates related to business and startups.

In the late hours of Thursday, at least 5 central ministers resigned in a process being termed as a major restructuring at the centre. Off late, there were rumours that a number of ministers might be asked to leave in order to restructure the cabinet and to give a chance to the other deserving candidates. In the evening of Thursday, a number of ministers held meetings with Amit Shah and since then, it was being speculated that the restructure might not be too far away. By midnight of Thursday, the announcement was well in open.

The ministers who quit or were asked to quit, include Rajiv Pratap Rudy (skill development minister), Faggan Singh Kulaste (Minister of State for health), Sanjiv Balyan (Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing), Uma Bharti (Minister of Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation) and Mahendra Nath Pandey (Minister of State for Human Resource Development).

Out of the named mentioned above, Uma Bharti has offered to quit from her ministerial post on health grounds, whereas Mahendra Nath Pandey will be resigning from his post to honour the one-man-one-post principle of BJP. There is still no clarity on the status of Kalraj Mishra (Minister of Small and Medium scale industries), as he has crossed the age of 75 years. Sources, however, claim that he will be soon appointed as the governor of one of the states.

While the resignations are still being finalised, rumours have started to emerge about the candidates who will be getting a place in the cabinet. After JDU joining BJP, rumours of at least 2 of JDU legislators joining the central cabinet have gained the ground. These 2 legislators might include the names of Ram Chandra Prasad Singh and Santosh Kushwaha. Santosh Kushwaha is MP from Purnia, whereas, Ramchandra Prasad Singh is a member of Rajya Sabha from Bihar.

Apart from the JD(U) members, there are speculations that Nitin Gadkari might be given additional charge of railways while still holding the current portfolios. Suresh Prabhu, who is the current railway minister, has been under severe criticism for increasing rail accidents and he might get the environment ministry. Suresh Prabhu has headed environment ministry in the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

With the rumoured developments, Nitin Gadkari is set to gain bigger responsibilities in the party and the government. At the same time, Rajiv Pratap Rudy is set to get an important position within the party, inside sources claimed.

Ananth Kumar, BJP’s senior legislator and an MP from Bangalore (South), who is currently heading parliamentary affairs, might be given urban development ministry. The Urban Development portfolio is being handled by Narendra Singh Tomar in addition to rural development ministry since Venkaiah Naidu was elected as vice-president.

Narendra Modi is set to travel internationally for days and president Ram Nath Kovind has pre scheduled appointments outside the capital. In such a scenario, there are possibilities that the announcement of the new portfolios might take place as early as Sunday. In a recent statement, Arun Jaitley had stated that he will give up the extra responsibility of defence ministry shortly and that had supported the rumours of a cabinet reshuffle. This will be the third reshuffling of the central cabinet since the Modi government came to power in May 2014.

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