PM Modi's Cabinet Expansion Likely on 7 July Evening: Reports
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sarbananda Sonowal and Sushil Modi are prominent names likely to get berths in the expansion.
As the buzz over the expansion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet grows amid several high-profile leaders from across states reaching Delhi, the reshuffle itself is likely to happen on Wednesday, 7 July, evening, ANI reported.
Many new faces are likely to be inducted into the Cabinet, sources told The Quint. According to NDTV, the new cabinet will be the youngest ever in India's history.
A few of the prominent names doing the rounds are those of former Congress leader and now BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi.
Speaking to ANI, Union Minister Rajnath Singh earlier on Tuesday, 6 July, refused to comment on the possible expansion saying: "I cannot comment on it for now."
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar meanwhile on Tuesday told reporters, "I have no knowledge about any formula but our party's national president has the authorisation for this. He is the authorised person. Whatever has to be done through discussions will be done accordingly."
NDTV quoted Kumar as saying, "Now whatever the respected Prime Minister decides we will accept."
The Cabinet currently has 53 members, but can have up to 81.
Sacrifices Being Rewarded?
Scindia's exit from the Congress along with his loyalists had led to the downfall of the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh and paved the way for BJP's Shivraj Singh Chouhan to return as the CM for the fourth time in March 2020. Scindia was spotted on Tuesday offering prayers at Ujjain's Mahakal temple ahead of his flight to Delhi.
"I was on a visit to Ujjain. After completing my visit here, I'm going to Delhi," he said, speaking to reporters.
Meanwhile, Sonowal had gracefully stepped aside for Himanta Biswa Sarma to become the new CM of Assam after the recently concluded Assembly elections in the state. Sonowal reached Delhi amid the buzz over his induction in the Cabinet.
Sushil Modi, who is believed to have masterminded the downfall of the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) government in Bihar in 2017 and paved way for the BJP to ally as the junior partner with Nitish Kumar's JD(U), was removed from the deputy CM's post in the 2020 Assembly elections.
Will Move Court if Paras Inducted Into Cabinet as LJP Minister: Chirag Paswan
Other names that are doing the rounds are Janata Dal leader CP Singh and Lok Janshakti Party's (LJP) Pashupati Kumar Paras, NDTV reported.
Interestingly, the LJP recently saw a split, with Paras, late party supremo Ram Vilas Paswan's brother, having engineered a coup against the latter's son Chirag Paswan, who had led the party in the 2020 Bihar elections. The buzz around Paras is likely to come as a jolt to Chirag, who had publicly voiced his support for PM Modi on multiple occasions.
Speaking about the speculation that Paras would be part of the Cabinet, Paswan said, "Making him a Union minister on LJP quota isn't possible as the party's national executive had already expelled him along with four other MPs. We have informed the Election Commission of this."
Paswan further said that he had also informed the PM about the issues and that if Paras is still appointed minister as an LJP MP, he would move court.
Meeting Scheduled for Today Cancelled: Report
According to NDTV, the Prime Minister's meeting with top party leaders, including party chief JP Nadda, scheduled for 5 pm on Tuesday has been cancelled.
This will be the first Union Cabinet expansion since PM Modi's return to power in 2019 for the second consecutive term.
The expansion is also expected to factor in the Assembly elections scheduled in the five states early next year – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. Elections are also scheduled in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir in the second half of next year.
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