Sonia meets PM over cabinet reshuffle (Lead)July 11th, 2011 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Monday to discuss the cabinet reshuffle expected this week, official sources said.
Gandhi’s meeting with the prime minister has come against the backdrop of the party giving a final shape to the long awaited reshuffle, sources said.
However, there is no official word on when the reshuffle would take place. Gandhi and Manmohan Singh have met thrice over the past few days.
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.
Sources said Law Minister M. Veerapa Moily may be shifted to human resource development ministry while Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad could be given charge of parliamentary affairs.
Azad, who has held parliamentary affairs minister in the past, enjoys a good rapport with opposition leaders.
The reshuffle may see Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress getting the railways portfolio, which was earlier held by Mamata Banerjee. Party leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay is also expected to be made a minister.
Congress sources said that ministers from the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh like Beni Prasad Verma and Salman Khursheed may be moved to weightier ministries. There is also speculation about actor-politician Raj Babbar, Lok Sabha member from Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh, being inducted as a minister.
Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena is likely to be promoted to a cabinet rank to give proper representation to Orissa, according to party sources.
Charan Das Mahant, MP from Korba in Chhattisgarh, may also find a berth in the council of ministers. Mahant is the only Congress MP from the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state.
Congress sources said there was no clarity yet on whether the DMK will name replacements for Andimuthu Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, who resigned following allegations of involvement in the 2G spectrum scam.
However, there is speculation about induction of DMK spokesman E.K.S. Elangovan.
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 the Madhya Pradesh party chief, are likely to be dropped, party sources said.
Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation M.S. Gill may also be dropped and replaced by a younger MP from Punjab.
Some of the young Congress ministers like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and R.P.N. Singh are also hopeful of promotions.
Mulsim League Kerala State Committee nominee E. Ahamed has been lobbying for a promotion as a minister of state with independent charge, sources said.
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Tags: bandyopadhyay, bharatiya janata party, cabinet rank, cabinet reshuffle, congress president sonia gandhi, external affairs minister, firozabad, ghulam nabi azad, human resource development, law minister, lok sabha member, mahant, manmohan singh, opposition leaders, p chidambaram, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, proper representation, raj babbar, srikant jena