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Narendra Modi government may add upto 30 more ministers during cabinet expansion

Thursday, 29 May 2014 - 7:15am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes in for a cabinet expansion, he may augment his council of ministers by inducting 20-30 more into it.

Most additions to the 45-member team are likely to be as ministers of state, though a few allocations are expected to be made in cabinet portfolios like defence, which finance minister Arun Jaitley now holds.

Modi, according to sources, would like to assess the performance of MPs during the Parliament session. Around a week-long session is to be held in the first week of June when the new members of Lok Sabha will take oath and the new Speaker will be elected. The budget session is likely to be held in July.

During the expansion, the BJP's oldest and biggest ally in terms of seats, Shiv Sena, is likely to get two berths in the council of ministers, sources said. Two days after the government formation, the lone Shiv Sena minister in the Cabinet, Anant Geete, decided to take charge as heavy industries minister after his party chief Uddhav Thackeray held "satisfactory" talks with the Prime Minister on portfolio allocation to his party.

The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance swept Maharashtra, winning 42 of 48 seats. The BJP won 23 and the Shiv Sena 18.

The Rajasthan MPs of the BJP too were disappointed with just a single representation in the council of ministers given to the it despite it delivering all 25 seats in the party's favour. The state leaders were expecting three cabinet berths.

Meanwhile, as the Modi government gets down to business, the BJP has begun the exercise of finding a new chief and filling other posts with party chief Rajnath Singh meeting the RSS top brass on Wednesday. Singh later met the Prime Minister.

While party general secretary JP Nadda seems to be frontrunner to replace Singh, who is now the home minister, the names of Modi's close aide Amit Shah, Rajya Sabha MP Om Mathur and Muralidhar Rao are also doing the rounds. However, sources indicated that it could turn out to be an unexpected name.

They said giving Shah would give a signal that Modi has control over the goverment and party and both are from Gujarat. However, a section in the party is of the view that Modi being a candidate from Varanasi would be from Uttar Pradesh, not Gujarat.

The RSS is also likely to replace its cadre in the BJP to strengthen the organisation in key states, particularly in election-bound ones like Maharashtra and Haryana. RSS had sent Sunil Bansal, former national secretary of RSS student wing, Akhil Bharti Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) to UP to assist Amit Shah. His main responsibility is to energise the RSS cadre to work in favour of the BJP.

After seeing the positive result of appointing Bansal in UP, the RSS is considering appointing several leaders in the party's state unit to oversee its organisational work," said a party insider.




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