New Delhi: Ajay Maken suddenly resigned on Saturday night as Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, setting the ball rolling for an organisational rejig in the Congress party and a reshuffle in the Union Cabinet which is likely to take place next Tuesday.
49-year-old Maken, a Delhi Congress leader, is expected to be assigned a position in the AICC, mostly probably as a general secretary.
The possibility of his being appointed as Delhi Congress chief was also being talked about.
Maken submitted his resignation as Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and has expressed his desire to work for the party, highly placed sources told PTI.
He was earlier Minister of State for Home Affairs and was later given independent charge of Sports and Youth Affairs. Maken was elevated to the Cabinet rank in October last year.
The reshuffle in the Council of Ministers is expected to be the last one in UPA 2 with Lok Sabha elections less than a year away. The sources said the changes are likely to be effected on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to utilize the opportunity to fill several vacancies in his council of ministers.
Singh had earier said that there are some vacancies and the issue of filling them up is being considered.
The latest vacancies in the Council of Ministers were created by the resignations of Union Ministers PK Bansal and Ashwani Kumar.
Bansal quit as Railways Minister last month in the wake of bribery scandal involving his nephew and a Railway Board member.
Kumar resigned as Law Minister following a controversy over vetting of a CBI probe report on coal blocks allocation scam.
The portfolio of Railways has been given to Road and Highways Minister CP Joshi as an additional charge while that of Law has gone to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal as additional ministry.
Under the reshuffle, ministers holding two portfolios could be divested of one.
With DMK and TMC withdrawing support from UPA government within less than a year, a number of slots vacated by them are yet to filled up.
Five ministers of DMK had resigned on March 20 this year
after which there has been no rejig in the Union Council of Ministers.
They were holding Minister of State position in Finance, Commerce and Industry, Health and Family Welfare and Social Justice ministries. The only cabinet minister they had was MK Alagiri who was in-charge of Chemical and Fertilisers.
Two cabinet ministers of DMK had resigned earlier -- Dayanidhi Maran and A Raja, the latter in connection with the 2G telecom spectrum allocation scam.
Some ministers may also be drafted them for organisational works ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls, the sources said.
A reshuffle of the party organisation in the AICC, which is long overdue, is also being firmed up.
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also the general secretary of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, could be given fresh responsibilities.
There are indications that AICC general secretary and media department in-charge Janardan Dwivedi may give up the charge of the media, a job he had done for six years.
The name of a number of party leaders, including Ambika Soni and Digvijay Singh, are doing rounds for the post.
Some of the incharges of the states are also likey to be reshuffled.