Narendra Modi is all set to reshuffle his council of ministers before he leaves for a four-nation tour of Africa on 7 July. After months of speculation, PM Modi will bring changes to the cabinet on Tuesday.
This would be the second time when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will be reshuffled. Including the Prime Minister, there are 66 ministers in the Council and Modi may induct new faces in his council as Constitution states that there can be 82 ministers. The President’s House has been already informed which indicates that there will be an oath ceremony to induct new members.
PM is expected to fill the vacancy of the minister for sports and youth affairs, which was left vacant after Sarbananda Sonowal became the Chief Minister of Assam. There are other few vacancies including a berth for ally Shiv Sena that need to be filled before the Monsoon Session of Parliament begins on July 18.
Modi held a long meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah last week and discussed the matter of the Cabinet rejig. Modi also had a discussion over the matter with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Prime Minister decided not to include leaders above the age of 75 for a membership of the council. Recently BJP disallowed two senior ministers in Madhya Pradesh from continuing as they crossed 75 years age and did not fit into the 75 year age criteria.
Veteran leaders of BJP like MM Joshi, Yashwant Sinha, Shanta Kumar, BC khanduri and LK Advani were kept out of the Cabinet as they were over the age of 75.
The NDA government is approaching the halfway mark of its five-year term and these changes will be crucial for the party. The new ministers and members will lead the party to the next Lok Sabha polls which are due in 2019.
4 July 2014
Avni S. Singh