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Cabinet Reshuffle: Scindia Certainty; Heavyweight Portfolio Likely for Fadnavis; Chirag Surprise Entry?

The proposed reshuffle would also factor poll-bound states like West Bengal. Roopa Ganguly is among the state MPs who could be considered for a place in the Union Cabinet.

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After having won a hard-fought election victory in Bihar, and after effecting an organisational overhaul, putting in place new BJP president J P Nadda’s team, the Centre’s BJP government, under PM Narendra Modi, seems all set for a Cabinet reshuffle, say well-informed sources. With the economy reeling under Covid-19-induced recession, and after three tranches of fiscal stimulus, the reshuffle is expected to infuse a new energy and sense of purpose in the government.

Among those expected to be inducted is former Congress star Jyotiraditya Scindia who joined the party and played an important role in the party’s commendable performance in the recent MP bypolls, cementing Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan’s position. Scindia has been a minister in the last UPA government as well.

Sushil Kumar Modi could be another addition. The former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, made way for two new BJP deputy chief ministers in the state. There’s, however, also a theory that he could be made the Delhi LG or Pondicherry LG as Kiran Bedi will retire next year. Sushil Modi has also played an important role in the evolution of the GST architecture.

Talking about Bihar, Chirag Paswan’s could be a surprise entry in the Union Cabinet. While Chirag’s Lok Janshakti Party went hammer and tongs at incumbent Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Janata Dal (United) during the state elections, he always maintained that PM Modi was his leader. Through the state elections, BJP leaders maintained that Chirag had no future in NDA. BJP President J P Nadda, in a recent interview, however, sought to draw the line and said that state and Centre were two different issues.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has been projected and groomed as a long-term prospect in Narendra Modi-Amit Shah’s BJP. Fadnavis is likely to secure an elevation not just in the party (possibly a place in the BJP Parliamentary Board), but he’s also likely to land a heavyweight portfolio in the Union Cabinet. He, however, would remain the party’s face in Maharashtra.  However, Fadnavis is not keen to come to Delhi as he wants to be active in Maharashtra only.

Ministry of textiles, MSMEs and industry will be merged to form Ministry of Manufacturing. It could be headed by Smriti Irani

Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu, always known as a performer, is likely to get another look-in. Since his ouster – and no one quite knows why he was dropped last time – he has kept a low-profile, when not discharging his role as Sherpa for G-20 summits. Among other Maharashtra names doing the rounds is that of Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.

Former party general secretary and Chhattisgarh leader Saroj Pandey is among the women leaders who could be inducted into the Cabinet.

Some names like those of Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma have often been mentioned for elevation at the Centre. Sarma, who has played a key role in the party strengthening its grip in North-East, however, is said to be more interested in a bigger role in Assam.

The proposed reshuffle would also factor poll-bound states like West Bengal. Roopa Ganguly is among the state MPs who could be considered for a place in the Union Cabinet.

A Union Minister said that the Modi government remains committed to “minimum government, maximum governance”. At the same time, the Cabinet will reflect the country’s diversity and the geographical spread of the party, as also the party’s concerns in high-voltage, poll-bound states.

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