PM Modi's meet with Ministers amid Cabinet expansion buzz canceled
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with top Union Ministers and the chief of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scheduled for today has been canceled, News18 and NDTV reported. The meet was supposed to take place at 5 pm at the PM's official residence amid growing buzz over a possible reshuffle and expansion of his Cabinet. Here are more details on this.
Amit Shah, JP Nadda were to attend the meet
Reports say that Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were expected to attend today's meeting. Other reported attendees included Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Pralhad Joshi, Piyush Goyal, Narendra Singh Tomar, and BJP chief JP Nadda. The PM and the Ministers were planning to discuss the performance of various Ministries and their proposals on future schemes.
What triggered the Cabinet expansion buzz?
A series of meetings in June have triggered speculation about Cabinet expansion. The meetings reportedly lasted hours and several Ministers were part of them. On June 5, PM Modi had spoken to the BJP's chiefs of several wings, including farmers, youth, SC/ST, and women wing. He then met with top Ministers on June 20 to review the government's working in the past two years.
Government focusing on wider representation ahead of polls
There has been no expansion in PM Modi's top team since he took charge for his second term after winning the 2019 general elections. Following the Akali Dal's withdrawal from the NDA, the central government currently has Ministers only from the BJP. Further, with several state's Assembly elections lined up next year, the government is looking to add more variety to the Union Cabinet.
Who are the frontrunners to become Ministers?
Political analysts have pointed at several frontrunners. It is believed that Nitish Kumar's JD(U), the BJP's key ally in Bihar, is expected to be included in the Cabinet. Separately, Jyotiraditya Scindia, a former Congress leader who joined the BJP last year, may also get a position. Sarbananda Sonowal, the former Assam CM who was replaced by Himanta Sarma this year, may also be included.
28 more Ministers can be added
The Union Cabinet can have up to 81 Ministers, but currently there are only 53, implying that 28 vacancies are needed to be filled. Several top Ministers already have the additional charge of other Ministries.