Cabinet reshuffle underway? Uma Bharti, 3 others quit, more likely to go

Posted September 06, 2017

Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigned as Skill Development Minister on Thursday evening, further fuelling speculation that a reshuffle of the Union Cabinet may be around the corner.

Ms. Bharti has been asked to quit ostensibly on the grounds of failing health.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had also hinted to have offered to resign after Kalinga-Utkal Express crash but was asked to "wait" by the Prime Minister.

With Modi slated to travel to China Sunday afternoon for the BRICS summit and President Ram Nath Kovind slated to return to capital from Tirupati late Saturday afternoon, there was speculation that the reshuffle would take place over the weekend. Additionally, Shah also held closed-door discussions with M Thambidurai of AIADMK which is looking at being part of the NDA at the Centre amid its two factions coming together in Tamil Nadu.

Apart from holding talks with the PM on the Cabinet reshuffle, the BJP president met several party leaders, to strategies for the Gujarat Assembly polls where the party aims to win 150 out of the 182 Assembly seats and score the fifth consecutive victory.

Bharti, who is the water resources minister, said only Shah or anyone on his behalf can speak on the issue. He made it clear in an interview to NDTV that "the decision is not mine, it is the party's".

Pandey's exit was rumoured over the past few days after he was appointed as the Uttar Pradesh BJP chief. Sources within the BJP said it was confirmed in the meet to relieve Jaitley of the Defence charge, which he has been handling along with Defence. While there was no official word about their meeting, it was believed in the party circles that the Cabinet reshuffle and political re-assignment of Union Ministers were discussed. At least two members of the JD (U) are also likely to join.

Finance and corporate affairs minister Arun Jaitley was given the additional charge of defence, while Smriti Irani got the additional portfolio of information and broadcasting.

Besides Jaitley, three other union ministers are also holding additional charges of different ministries. Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan is holding additional charge of the Environment portfolio following the demise of Anil Madhav Dave in May.