New Delhi: 7.30 pm: Former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor is likely to make a comeback in the UPA Cabinet reshuffle, which will take place on Sunday. However, it is not yet known as to which portfolio Tharoor might get.
6.55 pm: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday accepted the resignations of seven Union ministers ahead of the UPA Cabinet reshuffle, which is slated to take place on Sunday.
The ministers whose resignations have been accepted are: SM Krishna (Minister of External Affairs), Ambika Soni (Minister of Information and Broadcasting), Mukul Wasnik (Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment), Subodh Kant Sahay (Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment), Mahadeo Singh Khandela (MoS for Tribal Affairs), Vincent Pala (MoS for Water Resources and Minority Affairs), Agatha Sangma (MoS for Rural Development).
4.45 pm: According to sources, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is likely to be the next External Affairs Minister. SM Krishna had on Friday resigned as the External Affairs Minister ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle, which is slated to take place on Sunday.
4.10 pm: Andhra Pradesh MP Daggubati Purandeswari likely to get the Commerce Ministry in the Cabinet reshuffle, which will take place on Sunday.
Expressing happiness over the development, the Congress leader said, "I would like to thank Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for giving me this opportunity. It's an honor as well as a huge task. I hope I will be able to give my best."
3.13 pm: Ambika Soni says, "I have decided to work for the party. What work I do will depend on the Congress president. One can't differentiate between me wanting to resign or party asking me to resign. You can see this as preparation for 2014 polls. Sonia has blown the poll bugle. I was asked if I would like to work in party and that entailed resigning from Cabinet."
3.00 pm: Minister of State for Mines Dinsha Patel likely to be upgraded, say sources.
2.05 pm: Andhra Pradesh MP Samba Shiva Rao quits as he is not made minister. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi at 4 pm.
1.47 pm: MoS Agriculture Harish Rawat to be upgraded, say sources. Rajya Sabha member from Jharkhand Pradeep Balmuchu is also likely to be upgraded, the sources add.
12.37 pm: CP Joshi meets Sonia Gandhi. Manish Tewari will remain Congress spokesperson.
12.01 pm: Ajay Maken likely to join Cabinet, CP Joshi is expected to retain Railway Ministry. Sources say that KH Muniyappa may be upgraded.
11.24 am: Subodh Kant Sahai resigns as Tourism Minister. He will continue to work for the party.
11.08 am: SM Krishna resigns as External Affairs Minister. Krishna will meet President Pranab Mukherjee shortly. After meeting the PM, he said he quit to let the younger people take over.
10.50 am: Mukul Wasnik and Ambika Soni resign. After meeting PM Manmohan Singh, the duo say they would continue to work for the Congress party. Tourism Minister Subodh Kant meets PM. He is likely to resign to work for the party.
10.29 am: Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik meet PM Manmohan Singh. Kamal Nath may get Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, say sources. The ministry is currently headed by Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Former External Affairs Minister SM Krishna met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday. Krishna resigned from the post on Friday. He is likely to head the Finance Commission, say sources. Krishna will also meet President Pranab Mukherjee at 10.30 am. Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai will meet the PM at 10.50 am.
The UPA is gearing up for the massive Cabinet revamp on Sunday. After External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik are expected to resign, while Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi may be given a bigger role in the party as the working president or vice president.
And this time, the reshuffle is happening with Rahul Gandhi's stamp. More young faces will replace the old ones. Senior Minister SM Krishna resigned on Friday hinting at the same. "I want youngsters to be given a chance. I am a loyal party worker and I work for the party without any conditions," he said.
The Congress's message is clear: strong party, young government. Sachin Pilot, Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh, Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, Milind Deora are likely to be elevated. Ajay Maken too could be given an important slot. Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, who will meet the PM at 10.50 am on Saturday, and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh could be on their way out. Those with dual duties could lose one of their portfolios.
Soon after the Cabinet reshuffle, the organisational changes will follow and Rahul is expected to take charge. Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress's strategy is simple: to have a strong party image as India heads to polls.
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