Modi to Revamp Cabinet to Revive Economy Before Key India Polls

With elections to states like Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka due over the next 14 months, Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah are also likely to make some inductions from these states while a few ministers from these states may be relieved from their central duties to focus on their home states.

With the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reshuffle his cabinet, hopes run high for Northeast based politicians- Meghalaya MP Conrad Sangma and Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to be inducted in the union cabinet on Sunday.

Again, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has already put in his papers ahead of others following a series of train accidents involving loss of scores of lives.

With Nitish Kumar's JD (U) back in the NDA fold, the party is likely to get at least one if not two berths in the Cabinet. PM Modi is planning a massive rejig of his Cabinet on Sunday at 10 am.

Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha may also get a Cabinet rank.

AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai met Shah on Thursday, leading to speculation that the party might become part of the Union Council of Minister. As many as eight Union ministers visited him.

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The reshuffle, the third such exercise since Modi took over in May 2014, is expected to take into account four major factors - performance, regional balance, coming assembly elections in several states and, most importantly, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It will also see changes in Health, held by JP Nadda, Agriculture, held by Radha Mohan Singh and Civil Aviation, held by TDP leader Ashok Gajapathi Rajuthe, as crucial AI disinvestment, will have to be undertaken.

Two factions of the AIADMK have merged but several issues remain to be sorted out before the party can be invited to join the BJP-led NDA, sources said.

Around 12 new ministers are likely to be inducted in tomorrow's reshuffle. One can not be sure if finance minister Arun Jaitley, who has been having the additional portfolio of defence ministry since the exit of Manohar Parrikar several months ago, will be shedding the defence portfolio.

It was also rumoured that former Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani's son and MP Jose K Mani is considered to a Cabinet Minister's post. The current strength of the council of ministers, including the prime minister, is 73 and the maximum number of ministers can not go beyond 81.

There is a possibility of Prabhu being moved to the Environment Ministry and an integrated ministry being created for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping along with Railway. The BJP's much touted policy of "one-person-one-office" would have been violated had Pandey continued as a minister.

A portion of a mountainous garbage dump in east Delhi's Ghazipur collapsed on Friday because of heavy rain, killing two people, officials said.

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