PM meets Sonia, cabinet rejig likely in 3-4 days (Lead)

July 10th, 2011 - 10:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held another round of discussions with Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday regarding the much awaited cabinet reshuffle, but there was no official intimation on its timing.

Sunday’s was the fourth round of consultations on the changes in the ministerial council between the two leaders in three weeks.

Sources say the reshuffle was likely to take place in the next three-four days. Earlier indications suggested the reshuffle may be effected as early as Monday.

With no official intimation so far, the rejig may be held after Monday, the sources added.

Congress sources said the four major ministers - Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna - are unlikely to be touched, though the initial thinking was to move out Krishna.

The reshuffle may see both Dinesh Trivedi and Mukul Roy of the Trinamool Congress continuing in the cabinet and another party leader Sandip Bandopadhyay joining it.

There are chances that ministers from the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, like Beni Prasad Verma and Salman Khursheed, being promoted or moved to important portfolios, Congress circles said.

Despite a meeting between Mukherjee and DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi in Chennai Saturday, there is still no clarity whether new DMK ministers will take charge of places vacated by A. Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, who resigned following allegations of involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.

DMK sources said that the southern ally of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was not keen to immediately fill the slots.

Some Congress ministers, including Murli Deora and B.K. Handique, who have offered to resign citing “health reasons” and Kanti Lal Bhuria, who has been appointed as the Madhya Pradesh party chief, are likely to be dropped, party sources said.

Some of the young Congress ministers like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and R.P.N. Singh are also hopeful of promotions.

Mulsim League nominee E. Ahamed has been lobbying for a promotion as a minister of state with independent charge, sources said.

In his interaction with a group of editors June 29, Manmohan Singh had said that the reshuffle was a “work in progress”.

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