New Delhi: A day after the Congress party revamped its organisation, it is now likely that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will reshuffle the Cabinet on Monday. The swearing in for the new set of Cabinet Ministers is scheduled for 5:30 pm on Monday at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is possibly the last such change before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The exit of the DMK and the TMC, as well as the resignations of Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar over the Railway bribery case and coalgate scandals has forced the Congress to make changes in the Cabinet portfolios. Minister Mallikarjun Kharge is likely to be shifted to the Railways.
CP Joshi, who had taken charge of the Railway Ministry after Pawan Bansal's resignation, resigned on Sunday. "Whatever new role the party assigns me I will perform that to the best of my ability," Joshi tweeted.
Sis Ram Ola from Rajasthan will most probably be taking over Labour Minister and Girija Vyas could be stepping in for Ajay Maken, who resigned as Urban Affairs Minister to focus on the party. Maken's resignation comes ahead of Assembly elections in Delhi later this year.
The Cabinet reshuffle will come one day after the overhaul of the Congress party apparatus in which Maken and Joshi along with Ambika Soni and Gurudas Kamat were brought in as General Secretaries by the party which dropped Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Oscar Fernandes from these posts. The names of Meenakshi Natarajan, considered close to party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, and Fernandes are being mentioned in Congress circles for a possible berth in the Union Council of Ministers. There was also speculation that Minister of State Charan Das Mahant, who hails from poll-bound Chattisgarh where the Congress leadership was attacked by Maoists recently, will be elevated.
This is the second reshuffle since October last year. Manmohan Singh had earlier said that there were some vacancies and the issue of filling them up was being considered.
(With additional information from PTI)