PM Modi may induct dozen new faces in Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday

New Delhi, Sep 2: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to induct about a dozen new faces in his council of ministers and re-allocate some important portfolios on Sunday, probably the last major revamp of his team ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The new ministers will be sworn in by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, which will start at 10 am. The Prime Minister will leave for China to attend the BRICS summit Sunday afternoon.

Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya resigned on Friday, adding to the list of at least seven ministers who have put in their papers in the past forty-eight hours to make way for new faces.

In rejigging his team, Modi is expected to strike a balance between his agenda of governance — by plugging gaps in terms of competence and dynamism in his council of ministers — and political expediency — by giving representation to about half-a-dozen states going to polls by the end of 2018 and reflecting the ruling party’s new social engineering formula.

BJP sources said he is likely to put a premium on performance in the re-allocation of portfolios, as was the hint from the list of ministers who were asked to put in their papers.

Of the 73 members of the Union council of ministers, at least eight are likely to be edged out. There can be a maximum of 81 members, which gives the Prime Minister the option of inducting at least 15 new faces in the government. He is, however, unlikely to fill up all vacancies.

Modi and BJP president Amit Shah met on Thursday evening and the two were understood to have discussed the names that could be considered for induction. The JD(U), which joined the NDA recently, is likely to get two ministerial berths.

Source Hindustan Times