Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The resignation of Congress leader Ajay Maken as the Union Minister has sparked speculations of a possible reshuffle in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Cabinet. Sources have also suggested that the changes are likely to be effected on Tuesday and several young leaders are expected to be given important portfolios.
This will probably be the last reshuffle in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet before the Lok Sabha elections, which are less than a year away.
The stress is likely to be on organisational strengthening this time, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to utilise the opportunity to fill several vacancies in his council of ministers.
Singh had earlier 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.
With PTI inputs