With a major upheaval of the Cabinet expected anytime soon, several new faces, including some from the BJP's allies, are expected to join the government when Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffles his council of ministers in the next two days.
It will be the third such exercise since he took over in May 2014.
In light of the imminent reshuffling, several Cabinet ministers were asked to resign as well. "A process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan at around 10 am on Sunday," a top government official told PTI.
Here's a list of ministers who have resigned so far and the possible reasons behind the move:
Uma Bharti, Minister for Water Resources:
According to The Times Of India, Bharti quit citing health reasons. Sources, however, said that the real reason behind her resignation was her failure to show proper results on the 'Namami Gange' project, which incidentally is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet initiatives, reported NDTV. She was reportedly upset about it as well.
Bharti further said that only BJP national president Amit Shah or someone on his behalf could speak on the issue. "The media sought my reaction on reports in circulation since yesterday. I have said that I have not heard the question, will not hear nor will I answer it," she tweeted.
Kalraj Mishra, Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises:
Kalraj Mishra met the prime minister on Friday and offered to quit, a source close to him told PTI. Mishra is over 75-years-old and as the unwritten rule in BJP-RSS ranks under Modi's leadership go, everyone beyond that age may make way for the younger generation. As this Firstpost article argues, the question is whether Mishra would be granted an honourable exit by making him the governor of a state or not. If this hapens, he would also have to vacate his Lok Sabha seat.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State for Skill Development:
NDTV reported that Rudy was asked to resign by the party. "It's not my decision, it's the decision of the party, and I will follow (it)," Rudy said. He is expected to be given an organisational assignment in the BJP, sources close to him told PTI. According to The Wire, he was criticised for the poor handling of his ministry.
Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Water Resources:
Balyan is accused of making speeches instigating violence before the Muzzaffarnagar riots in 2013, according to The Wire. His resignation comes in the light of poor flood management in the deluge-ravaged Uttar Pradesh in recent months. Modi, who is known to have curtailed the media interaction of his ministers and party leaders, was reportedly irked by the controversial statements made by Balyan.
Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare:
Kulaste tendered his resignation on Thursday. India Today TV speculated that low attendance in party events might have led to Kulaste's ouster. Media reports also suggested that Modi personally took feedback on his ministers from the concerned bureaucrats. Kulaste's tenure as a minister was also largely uneventful. However, the recent deaths of children due to encephalitis and other diseases across states may have prompted Modi to place more experienced hands in the ministry.
Bandaru Dattatreya, Minister of Labour:
The Member of Parliament from Secunderabad tendered his resignation on Friday evening ahead of a major Cabinet reshuffle expected on Saturday. The reasons for his quitting are not clear yet.
Mahendra Nath Pandey, Junior Minister for Human Resource Development:
Pandey also resigned on Thursday night but was appointed as Uttar Pradesh BJP president in place of deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, the party said in a statement. The seasoned BJP leader, one of the better known Brahmin faces of the party in the state, had served as a minister in previous BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP's much touted policy of 'one-person-one-office' would have been violated had Pandey continued as a minister. Besides, Uttar Pradesh is far too important a state electorally for the state party chief to juggle responsibilities. The Modi juggernaut is counting upon the 80 odd Lok Sabha seats the state has to offer, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Apart from the names mentioned above, speculation is rife that agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh could also be asked to quit.
Shah had met Modi on Thursday and the two leaders are understood to have finalised the changes in the council of ministers. BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, party's vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, and party MPs Prahlad Patel, Suresh Angadi, Satyapal Singh and Prahlad Joshi are being talked about within the party as probable ministers.
With the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) also likely to join the government, its leaders RCP Singh, who is also JD(U)'s parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha, and Santosh Kumar are the likely picks from the new NDA ally.
AIADMK leader Thambidurai had met Shah on Thursday, and he, besides party leaders P Venugopal and V Maitreyan, may be the likely representatives from the Tamil Nadu party if it decides to join the government. However, the southern party has not confirmed it so far.
While there are some vacancies, a number of senior ministers are also holding dual portfolios. Arun Jaitley is in charge of two heavyweight ministries — finance and defence — while Harsh Vardhan, Smriti Irani and Narendra Singh Tomar are also handling additional charges.
The current strength of the council of ministers, including the prime minister, is 73 and the maximum number of ministers cannot go beyond 81. According to a constitutional amendment, the limit cannot exceed beyond 15 per cent of the total strength of the Lok Sabha which is 545.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Sep 01, 2017 22:48:52 IST