Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to reshuffle his council of ministers on Tuesday by inducting 19 new faces in the first major exercise since he assumed power in May 2014, party sources said.
“Prime Minister will strengthen his team with experience, expertise and energy. He has decided to expand his Council of Ministers by inducting 19 new ministers,” a top government official said.
The sources also said that four Ministers of State with independent charge were likely to be promoted to the cabinet. Of the 19 new faces, 13 are from the Lok Sabha and six from the Rajya Sabha.
A highly placed source told IANS that none of the new ministers would get cabinet status.
Ministers with independent charge likely to be promoted are Piyush Goyal (Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy), Dharmendra Pradhan (Petroleum and Natural Gas), Nirmala Sitharaman (Industries and Commerce) and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Minority Affairs).
The likely new faces are Lok Sabha members Arjun Ram Meghwal, P.P. Chaudhary and C.R. Chaudhary (all Rajasthan), Anupriya Patel, Mahendra Nath Pandey and Krishna Raj (all Uttar Pradesh), Ajay Tamta (Uttarakhand), S.S. Ahluwalia (West Bengal), Mansukh Bhai Mandavia and Jaswant Sinh Bhabhor (both Gujarat), Subhash Ramrao Bhamre (Maharashtra), Rajan Gohain (Assam) and Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi (Karnataka).
The likely new ministers from the Rajya Sabha are Ramdas Athawale (Maharashtra), Purushottam Rupala (Gujarat), Faggan Singh Kulaste, M.J. Akbar and Anil Madhav Dave (all Madhya Pradesh) and Vijay Goel, the former Delhi BJP president who represents Rajasthan.
The Prime Minister has tried to accommodate all communities and social backgrounds in this reshuffle.
Among the 19, two, Jaswant Sinh Bhabhor and Faggan Singh Kulaste are from the Scheduled Tribes, while five – Ajay Tamta, Ramdas Athalwale, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Ramesh Jigajinagi, and Krishna Raj – are from the Scheduled Castes.
M.J. Akbar and S.S. Ahluwalia have been selected under the minorities quota.
The new ministers are from 10 states – Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Assam.
“The selection framework clearly laid out by the Prime Minister was to bring in doers and performers who would deliver on his vision of development and good governance, and further his central priority of Gaon, Garib and Kisan (Village, Poor and Farmer),” a source said.
He said that the expansion comes after an exhaustive vetting and selection process to find the best talent.
“People were assessed on the value they would bring to the Union Council of Ministers,” he added.