20 new faces likely to be inducted

Modi to reshuffle Cabinet today

New Delhi: As many as 20 new faces are expected to be inducted into the Union Council of Ministers on Sunday in the first revamp exercise which is likely to bring in BJP leaders Manohar Parrikar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Bandaru Datttatreya while elevating a few.

While a TDP representative is sure to be inducted, last-minute problems appeared to have cropped up over a Shiv Sena member joining the ministry in view of unresolved issues in Maharashtra.

Five months after taking over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is undertaking an expansion and reshuffle of his Cabinet in which Parrikar appears all set to get Defence portfolio which is now held as an additional charge by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The swearing-in of the new ministers will take place at 1.30 pm on Sunday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Before the swearing-in ceremony, Modi is hosting a breakfast for the newcomers.

The current strength of the Council of Ministers is 45 — 23 of Cabinet rank, including the Prime Minister, and 22 Ministers of State.

Of the 22 MoS, 10 hold Independent Charge.

Among the new inductions are Babul Supriyo, BJP MP from West Bengal, Vijay Sampla, a dalit and a first time Lok Sabha member of the party from Hoshiarpur in Punjab and possibly former RJD leader Ram Kripal Yadav, elected on BJP ticket from Patna.

An IIT-M alumnus, Parrikar will be the first Cabinet Minister from Goa and shares a good rapport with the Prime Minister.

Naqvi (57), a prominent Muslim face of the BJP, returns to the Union Council of Ministers 15 years after his stint as MoS Information and Broadcasting in the Vajpayee government.

There is speculation that a couple of ministers could be dropped while a few could be elevated to the Cabinet rank.

Former union minister Suresh Prabhu, who is the Prime Minister’s sherpa for G-20 Summit, is widely being speculated as the head of a new body that will replace the Planning Commission.(PTI)

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