Cabinet reshuffle: PM Modi will keep in mind elections, performance and streamlining

Cabinet reshuffle: PM Modi will keep in mind elections, performance and streamlining

The development comes ahead of the much-awaited reshuffle in the Union Council of Ministers that is expected to take place on Sunday. Analysts feel the move aims to salvage his image which suffered a dent lately for two key factors: a major slowdown in economic growth and the demonetisation gamble having come a cropper.The possibility a major reshuffle in the Union Cabinet though has evoked a lukewarm response from the BJP's state unit. "A process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan at around 10 am on Sunday", a top government official told PTI.

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said the reshuffle will make no difference to the government as there was lack of talent in the Council of ministers.

If sources are to be believed, the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) carried out a detailed audit of performance of Cabinet ministers.

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When the newly-minted PM Modi had given additional charge of defence to Jaitley for the first time in May 2014 and he ran the ministry for over five months, the prime minister had tasked him to prepare a blueprint for rapid modernisation of the armed forces and identifying procurement of new weapon systems from overseas.

Clear pointers to the cabinet reshuffle had begun emerging on Thursday with Union finance minister Arun Jaitley indicating at a press briefing that he may not hold the additional charge of the defence portfolio for very long.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu is also expected to be let go of in the reshuffle because of the spate of recent train accidents. Which union minister is dropped and which leader is inducted in the union government depends also on the state elections - both upcoming and the ones already held. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh could be asked to go.

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News reports said they were asked for their resignations by BJP party president Amit Shah. He is also likely to be adjusted in one of the vacant Raj Bhavans as a Governor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the inaugural function of the Rajasva Gyan Sangam - Annual Conference of Tax Administrators, in New Delhi on Friday. Media reports also suggested that Modi personally took feedback on his ministers from the concerned bureaucrats.

While Jaitley shedding the defence portfolio is a distinct possibility, Dr Harshavardhan, who is holding more than one portfolio, may also be relieved of one.

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AIADMK leader Thambidurai had met Shah on Thursday, and he, besides party leaders P Venugopal and V Maitreyan, may be the likely representatives from the Tamil Nadu party if it decides to join the government. The total number of ministers in the council can not exceed 81.

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