the Union Council of Ministers could take place anytime
after January 14 amid indications that the exercise was still
being given final touches.
The talk in Congress circles is that while the party
wants the reshuffle in the government to be a major exercise,
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appears to be in favour of it
being a limited affair.
Talks have it that Kapil Sibal could retain his new
charge of Telecom where he was brought in over a month back
following the resignation of A Raja in the wake of the 2G
Sibal is holding charge of HRD Ministry as also Science
and Technology. The latter was given to him after Prithviraj
Chavan was made Maharashtra Chief Minister. Party general
secretary Janardan Dwivedi`s name is doing the rounds for the
The DMK appears to be making a pitch for an additional
ministerial berth in wake of Raja`s exit but Congress circles
are doubtful whether it would be conceded to, given the fact
that the ally would not be able to mount much pressure in view
of the scam.
The names of Union Ministers Ambika Soni, Vilasrao
Deshmukh and Gurudas Kamat are doing the rounds for party
The buzz is that Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who
is a Minister of State (Independent charge) could be elevated
to Cabinet rank.
The occasion could also be used to fill the slot vacated
by the Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor,
who quit last year in wake of the IPL Kochi ownership
The names of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek
Singh Ahluwalia and UIDIA chief Nandan Nilekani are also doing
the rounds for inclusion in the government.
Congress sources, however, say that since there were
hardly any vacancy in the Rajya Sabha, it would be a difficult
task to bring in non-MPs as ministers.
A reshuffle of the AICC secretariat as also
reconstitution of the Congress Working Committee is pending
for long and party chief Sonia Gandhi is expected to use the
opportunity for inductions in the party.