New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high level meet with top ministers at his residence at 5pm today on Tuesday — amid growing buzz of a cabinet reshuffle later in the week — now stands cancelled.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP chief JP Nadda and party national general secretary BL Santhosh were all expected to attend this highly anticipated meeting among others.
— ANI (@ANI) July 6, 2021
In a series of interactions held on June 1, PM Modi was said to be focusing on the performance of the ministries given the massive challenge of Covid-19 that has wreaked havoc across the country in its second wave. The meetings have lasted anywhere between three to five hours with both cabinet as well as ministers of state being asked to attend the same. On June 5, Modi spoke to morcha chiefs of the BJP, including those of farmers, youth, SC/ST and women. A day later, he met party general secretaries.
Notably, ever since the BJP government came to power in May 2019, there has been no expansion in the Union Cabinet despite some ministers chairing as many as three Cabinet portfolios whereas some ministries do not have an MoS. With the withdrawal of Akali Dal from the NDA, the Modi government currently has ministers only from the BJP.
Meanwhile, the news in political corridors suggests that JD(U), a key ally of the BJP in Bihar, will like to be represented in the ministry. While, Jyotiraditya Scindia, who joined the BJP in March 2019, is still waiting to be given a ministerial berth after having delivered the results in Madhya Pradesh. Whereas, Sarbananda Sonowal who was replaced by Himanta Biswa Sarma as Assam chief Minister, is also likely to be accommodated in the cabinet as would former deputy chief minister of Bihar Sushil Modi.
With Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh facing assembly polls next year, the BJP is doing everything to lure its vote bank. This time the main focus is on several castes and groups that have gone unrepresented or underrepresented in the union and state cabinets. So some faces from western UP, some unrepresented castes or groups, etc, are likely to be given prominent positions in Delhi and even in Uttar Pradesh.
So, a series of meetings at the organisational levels, and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath meeting the PM and Shah indicate that some new faces are likely to be inducted. This further adds fuel to the speculation that a cabinet expansion may take place soon.