Union Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigned on Thursday ahead of a speculated Cabinet reshuffle, PTI reported. Around five ministers have reportedly resigned, and new ones might be appointed before Modi leaves for the Brics summit in China on Sunday. Unidentified officials told PTI that the ministerial overhaul will be held on Sunday morning.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Balyan and Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh also resigned, NDTV reported. Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Kalraj Mishra also tendered his resignation, The Economic Times reported.
Besides this, Union Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey was appointed the president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday evening, thus creating another vacancy in the Union Cabinet.
Ministries that might be re-distributed
Union minister Arun Jaitley has held the defence and finance portfolios both after Manohar Parrikar quit as the defence minister to return to Goa as chief minister. Former Union minister Venkaiah Naidu’s urban development and information and broadcasting portfolios may be included in the reshuffle. Naidu is now vice president of the country. Textiles Minister Smriti Irani had been given additional charge of the broadcasting ministry, but reports suggest it may be re-assigned.
Some reports have also suggested that the Janata Dal (United), the BJP’s newest ally, will be given a Cabinet berth, while some have also said that the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam may get a position.
BJP President Amit Shah had met several senior ministers on Thursday morning. Some had said it was a meeting to discuss the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls. Jaitley, who is in charge of the party’s Gujarat polls, had attended the meeting, along with Narendra Singh Tomar, PP Chaudhury, Jitendra Singh and Niramala Sitharaman.
Changes were last made to the Union Cabinet in July 2016, when Prakash Javadekar was made human resource development minister and Smriti Irani was moved to textiles, among other changes. The next Cabinet reshuffle might be the last one before the 2019 General elections, when Modi will look to be re-elected.