A major Cabinet reshuffle is expected at the Centre ahead of the 2019 elections, media reports said.
Minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy and water resources minister Uma Bharti reportedly resigned from the Union council of ministers amid speculation of an impending Cabinet reshuffle, sources close to them said on Thursday.
With Modi slated to travel to China Sunday afternoon for the BRICS summit and President Ram Nath Kovind slated to return to capital from Tirupati late Saturday afternoon, there was speculation that the reshuffle would take place over the weekend. The Economic Times reported that Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Kalraj Mishra also tendered his resignation.
There have been clear indications of an upcoming Cabinet reshuffle from sources in the government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
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While Nirmala Sitharaman said that the eight ministers meet with BJP chief Amit Singh were regarding BJP polls, resignations after that meet defer his words. Rudy's exit from the ministry has come just when reports of a cabinet-reshuffle-cum-expansion are getting stronger.
Last week, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu too had offered to resign taking "full moral responsibility" for the recent train accidents.
Existing ministers Dharmendra Pradhan (petroleum) and Piyush Goyal (power), who have independent charge of their respective ministries, may be elevated to Cabinet positions.
Sources said that it is only after after this development that these leaders have offered to resign from their posts.
Talk of a reshuffle gained ground after the BJP last month chose its senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu as its vice-presidential candidate. There are several vacancies in the government while some senior ministers, including Arun Jaitley and Harsh Vardhan, are holding additional portfolios. Pandey is likely to resign as a Union minister as he assumes his new charge, meaning there will be one more vacancy in the Cabinet.