Modi ready to expand Cabinet.

Modi ready to expand Cabinet.

Modi Cabinet expansion likely in August; space for at least 13 more berths

Scindia in the running for a potential cabinet berth in the Modi government

Agency Report | New Delhi | 10 July, 2020 | 11:50 PM

The second term of the Narendra Modi government is likely to see its first cabinet expansion after the end of ‘Sawan’.

The month of Sawan, which started on July 6, will end on August 3.

Party sources said that the Council of Ministers will be expanded in the second week of August.

Sources said that the BJP believes that it is an auspicious time for the cabinet expansion after the end of Sawan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in with 57 ministers on May 30, 2019. According to the rules, a maximum of 81 ministers can be appointed — 15 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.

The previous Modi government had 70 ministers. In such a situation, it is believed that this time also, if the Prime Minister goes by the last time figure, at least 13 new ministers can get a place in the government.

Party sources say that RSS co-head Krishnagopal, BJP National President J.P. Nadda and the party’s organization General Secretary B.L Santosh met Prime Minister Modi on this issue in June. It is Krishnagopal who oversees the coordination between the RSS and the BJP.

A BJP leader said, “The list of National President J.P. Nadda’s team is ready, it clearly means who will come from the organization to the government and from the government to the organization, from which state, how many people will be inducted into the organization and government. The blueprint has been set.”

Sources say that National General Secretaries Bhupendra Yadav, Anil Jain, Anil Baluni may become ministers from the organization.

A minister associated with Rajasthan can be dropped. Eight Cabinet ministers hold two to three ministries. Some ministers with independent charge also have more than one ministry. In such a situation, the workload of these ministers can be reduced.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, who became a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh, is also in the running for a potential cabinet berth in the Modi government.

Sources say that on the lines of S Jaishankar, some experts may also be inducted into the Council of Ministers. The JD-U may also be given a stake in the government due to the impending Bihar elections in November. Party sources say that there is a high probability of changes in the middle order in the Modi government.

Sources say that the groundwork for the expansion of the Council of Ministers was initiated last December by Prime Minister Modi, when he held a marathon review meeting of the Council of Ministers on December 21, only after the performance report of the ministers was prepared. But later, due to the BJP’s organizational elections and the outbreak of coronavirus, the matter was stalled. However, the Modi government has now completed more than a year of its second term. In such a situation, the expansion of the Council of Ministers is on the cards.

During the government formed in 2014, the first Council of Ministers was expanded within six months.

It is clear from the meeting between the officials and BJP leaders regarding the Council of Ministers in June that the Modi government will expand the Council of Ministers between August and September. This is also reinforced because Scindia’s supporters are demanding that he get responsibility in the central government ahead of the by-elections to 24 seats in Madhya Pradesh in September.

Sources say that this will benefit the BJP in the by-elections.