Cabinet reshuffle in the offing?

Uncertainty prevails over the much-talked about expansion-cum-reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers.

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2011, 21:39 PM IST

New Delhi: Uncertainty prevails over
the much-talked about expansion-cum-reshuffle of the Union
Council of Ministers.

The exercise could now take place before the Monsoon
session of Parliament beginning August one or after the
session is over on September 8, highly-placed sources said.
Though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress
President Sonia Gandhi had a meeting last Sunday, the sources
said that the consultations over the reshuffle were yet to
take place.

As political circles were agog with reports of
reshuffle, Union Minister and National Conference
representative in the UPA government Farooq Abdullah said the
Prime Minister probably wants to have new faces so that in the
remaining three years of its term the government can "serve
well".

Another Cabinet Minister Salman Khurshid, who belongs
to Congress, said the government was working in a transparent
manner and if there had been "hiccups" in matters of
governance they were being attended to.

The government is also expected to appoint some Governors
and top bureaucrats in some of the key ministries in the next
few weeks.

The possibility of reshuffle gained momentum after the
victory of Mamata Banerjee, who became the Chief Minister of
West Bengal, and resigned as Railway Minister at the Centre.
There is speculation that her party colleague Mukul
Roy, who has been given additional charge of Minister of State
in the Railway, will be elevated to the Cabinet rank in the
Railway ministry.

Ministers like Kapil Sibal are holding more than one
portfolio. While there are some vacancies including that
created by the resignation of A Raja in the wake of the 2G
spectrum scam and Prithviraj Chavan, who became Chief Minister
of Maharashtra.

In Tamil Nadu, S S Barnala has completed his tenure as
Governor of the state and the Centre may be looking at a new
candidate.

In the bureaucracy, Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai is
retiring this month end while Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar
and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will retire next month.

PTI