A fifth meeting in the last one week was held on Monday evening at the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg. Sources said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Road, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Fertilisers Minister Sadananda Gowda were among those present for the talks. The meeting was also attended by BJP national president JP Nadda and general secretary, organisation, BL Santhosh.
Sources said this is part of an exercise where the PM is holding individual meetings with Union ministers in different groups to assess the work done by the government that recently completed two years in its second term. The meetings are also said to focus 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. Ministers of agriculture, rural development, animal husbandry and fishing, tribal affairs, urban development, culture, statistics and programme implementation, civil aviation, railways, food and consumer affairs, jal shakti, petroleum, steel and environment, DoNER and home were among those who have attended these meetings till last week.
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.
Speculation is rife about a possible Cabinet reshuffle and expansion as a similar exercise has been undertaken to assess the performance of each ministry and its in-charges.
Ever since the Modi 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. Political pundits have also indicated that the JD(U), a key ally of the BJP in Bihar, would like to be represented in the ministry. 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. 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.
As the long wait and speculations continue, the BJP leadership may spring a surprise as it has done several times on earlier occasions.