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Modi Cabinet Reshuffle: Here's a Look at Possible Gainers and Losers

Sources say that among the new NDA allies — the JD(U) and the AIADMK (which is yet to formally join the fold) — could find a place in Modi Cabinet.

Marya Shakil | CNN-News18maryashakil

Updated:August 25, 2017, 3:07 PM IST
Modi Cabinet Reshuffle: Here's a Look at Possible Gainers and Losers
File Photo of PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. (Photo: Reuters)

New Delhi: Two years before the next general election, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government is electorally stronger than in 2014 and with mega Cabinet reshuffle around the corner, one can expect surprises and strategic appointments from the prime minister and BJP chief Amit Shah.

Cabinet reshuffle can take place anytime between Saturday and September 5 when Pitru Paksha or Shradh, a fortnight considered inauspicious in Hindu calendar, begins.

Sources say that among the new NDA allies — the JD(U) and the AIADMK (which is yet to formally join the fold) — could find a place in Modi Cabinet. While Nitish Kumar’s party could get a minister of state with independent charge, two MoS berths could be given to AIADMK.

Highly placed sources say major changes are expected in Maharashtra with Devendra Fadnavis being seen as a possible central minister. The state's PWD minister Chandrakant Patil could head the government in the state.

The corridors of power are abuzz that the NCP may get rewarded for its open defiance of the Congress leadership in the recent past. But there is no talk of Sharad Pawar formally joining NDA. Does that mean that Maratha strongman's daughter Supriya Sule, who is among the most active MPs in Parliament, could be placed in the Cabinet? Well, no one but PM Modi and BJP chief knows the answer.

While some of the less-performing ministers may be asked to leave, those doing good work — like power minister Piyush Goyal and petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan — may get elevated.

Another big question is on the fate of railway ministry. While it's being considered a done deal that Suresh Prabhu would not remain in Rail Bhavan for long, but he may find place in some other ministry. According to sources, he continues to enjoy PM’s trust.

In that case, who will be the new railway minister? Two theories are doing rounds in Delhi's corridors of power. One is that a mega transport and mobility ministry could be created under Nitin Gadkari, who has a good track record as highways and shipping minister.

Another speculation is that former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, who was made to resign by Mamata Banerjee in March 2012 when he had increased the passenger fares by 2 paise, could replace Prabhu.

Sources say Trivedi and Ashwani Lohani, who has been appointed as Chairman of Railway Board, could make for a leadership to reform Indian Railways and take forward Prabhu's work.

During Trivedi's short tenure as railway minister, multiple committees were set up. One was Kakodkar Committee for safety review committee that had made 106 recommendations on various aspects of railway’s working.

Politically, Trivedi's appointment could render a body blow to Mamata Banerjee in Bengal. Trivedi is a Gujarati whose family migrated to India from Karachi during partition. He started political career with Congress in 1980s, before switching over to Janata Dal in 1990. In 1998, he joined Trinamool Congress and became its first general secretary.

Kalraj Mishra could be dropped because of the upper age limit of 75. Also some non-performing ministers could be dropped.

All said and done, one can expect surprises from the Modi-Shah duo.

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| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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