New Delhi: Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigned this evening ahead of a cabinet reshuffle that is expected to take place any day now. Sources say at least two or three more ministers may quit.
Mr Rudy, who was Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, will be assigned organizational work, sources say.
The possibly last major reshuffle before the 2019 national election is expected before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves on Sunday for a BRICS summit in China. BJP chief Amit Shah has held several meetings over the past few days and today met with eight ministers though Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the agenda was only the Gujarat polls later this year.
Sources say Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who holds additional charge of Defence, is likely to shed one of the two ministries before he leaves next month for Japan, where he is to attend the annual defence ministers’ conference.
Many expect a change in the Railways Ministry after a series of accidents. For the first time after two derailments within four days, Minister Suresh Prabhu met PM Modi and indicated that he had offered to quit but was “asked to wait”.
A rejig of the government has been due for months now, especially after vacancies and transformed alliances. The ruling BJP may also accommodate leaders like Bhupendra Yadav, the in-charge of Gujarat, with an eye on elections in the state.
Two key ministries opened up and were re-allotted after M Venkaiah Naidu was named Vice President of India. The Environment ministry was also reassigned to Harsh Vardhan as additional charge after the death of minister Anil Dave.
Another minister, Mahendra Nath Pandey, was appointed BJP chief in Uttar Pradesh this evening. He took over as the junior minister of HRD ministry last year.
The Centre is widely expected to reward Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), which is back to sharing power with the BJP in Bihar after a dramatic break-up with Lalu Yadav’s RJD and the Congress in July.