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Modi to recast ministerial council on Tuesday, 9 new faces likely

Modi to recast ministerial council on Tuesday, 9 new faces likely

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to reshuffle his council of ministers on Tuesday and induct nine new faces in what will be the first such major exercise since he took over the reins in May 2014, party sources said.

"Cabinet expansion tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11 a.m.," Principal spokesperson and Director General of Press Information Bureau Frank Noronha tweeted but did not go into the specifics.

But BJP sources said a dozen names were doing the rounds for induction, promotion or ouster.

They also said that at least nine new faces may find a place in the ministerial council while three others were likely to be promoted to the cabinet.

Ministers with independent charge -- Piyush Goyal (Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy), Dharmendra Pradhan (Petroleum and Natural Gas) and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Minority Affairs) -- are likely to be promoted.

But there was no word yet on the elevation of another probable, Nirmala Sitharaman, who holds independent charge of industries and commerce portfolios.

The likely new faces are Arjun Ram Meghwal (Lok Sabha, Rajasthan), P.P. Chaudhary (Lok Sabha, Rajasthan), Anupriya Patel (Lok Sabha, Uttar Pradesh), Anil Desai (Rajya Sabha, Maharashtra), Ajay Tamta (Lok Sabha, Uttarakhand), Mahendra Nath Pandey (Lok Sabha, Uttar Pradesh), Krishna Raj (Lok Sabha, Uttar Pradesh), S.S. Ahluwalia (Lok Sabha, West Bengal) and Purushottam Rupala (Rajya Sabha, Gujarat).

According to the sources, this time around, instead of new members getting calls from the Prime Minister' Office, it was BJP President Amit Shah who informed them about their likely induction into the cabinet.

IANS spoke to most of these to be ministers and they confirmed they did get a call from the party president. Some have already reached Delhi while others are on the way.

There has been speculation of a cabinet reshuffle since the Prime Minister met his council of ministers here on June 30 and reviewed important projects and works of various ministries.

Modi had earlier met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss the issue.

The three are expected to meet again later on Monday to give a final shape to the expansion-cum-reshuffle, the sources said.

In the latest exercise, the Prime Minister is likely to keep regional interests, especially in view of the upcoming elections in key states like Uttar Pradesh.

The reshuffle will be followed by an organisational revamp of the BJP, the sources added.

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