Modi cabinet to be expanded on November 9, Manohar Parrikar may be next Defence Minister
New Delhi: Narendra Modi cabinet is all set to be expanded on November 9, according to highly-placed sources.
If these sources are to be believed then Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar may become the next Defence Minister of India.
A total of 12 new ministers may be inducted into Modi cabinet. According to reports available, Senior BJP leader from Bihar Ashwini Chaubey, Jayant Sinha, son of senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi may find a place in November 9 cabinet expansion.
Other probable ministers are Hansraj Ahir, Rao Inderjeet Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on foreign visit from November 12 and parliament session will begin from November 24.
Shiv Sena may also get an additional MoS berth in the cabinet, subject to alliance in Maharashtra. In addition to this, Rajasthan can also get one more representation in the cabinet.
Some ministers like Nirmala Sitharaman and Prakash Javdekar may be elevated to cabinet rank while the burden of Nitin Gadkari may be lessened after this expansion.
Environment ministry may be taken away from Prakash Javdekar while Rural development and Panchayat affairs may be taken way from Nitin Gadkari. Similarly, Telecom ministry may be taken away from Ravi Shankar Prasad.
All these ministries may get new bosses after this cabinet expansion.
Meanwhile, Manohar Parrikar today met BJP president Amit Shah amid reports that he may be inducted into the Union Cabinet.
He is also likely to meet Modi.
Asked about the speculation that he may be inducted into the Cabinet, he said, “I can comment on it only after meeting the Prime Minister. Let the Prime Minister who has invited me comment.”
Parrikar, who met Shah at his residence, left for Delhi in the morning cancelling a Cabinet meeting that was to take up the issue of mining lease policy.
Haryana BJP leader Virendra Singh, a prominent Jat face of the party who has left Congress to join it before Haryana Assembly elections, also met Shah in the evening.
However, after his meeting with Modi, Parrikar told reporters that they only discussed Goa issues and there was no talk on his induction in the Union Cabinet.
“I have not discussed nor has he discussed anything about that. So, as of now the issue is dead. The news is dead,” he said.
“I had requested for a meeting (with Modi) to discuss issues of Goa and this is what was discussed. He has accepted my demands for Goa,” he said. When asked if he would continue as chief minister, he said, “Obviously.”
The defence portfolio is currently held as an additional charge by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who also has Corporate Affairs Ministry under his fold. More than six ministers are currently holding more than one portfolio.
Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari also holds the charge of Rural Development Ministry, while Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also has the charge of IT and Communications Ministry.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has I&B ministry as an additional charge while Power Minister Piyush Goyal also looks after Coal and Mines.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu also has Urban Development while Nirmala Sitharaman, MoS in Finance Ministry, also has independent charge of Commerce. Among the other names doing the rounds for inclusion are first time MP Jayant Sinha, son of former minister Yashwant Sinha, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Anurag Thakur. If the induction takes place, this will be the first recasting of the ministry by Modi who assumed office in May after the general elections. ‘
Sunday is being talked about as the day for the exercise as Modi is scheduled to leave on a three-nation nine-day tour on November 11. Parliament is scheduled to see the start of Winter Session from Nov 24 and so the new ministers could have some time to prepare themselves for facing the House.