New Delhi: Speculation is rife that Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh may undertake a reshuffle of his
Council of Ministers later this week before he leaves on a
three-nation visit this Sunday.
There is no official word so far but talk in Congress
circles today is that the exercise may be confined to party
representatives in the government.
Singh would be out of the country for a week and would
be back in time for the AICC meeting scheduled here on
Diwali falls on November five followed by US President
Barack Obama`s visit on Nov 7 and 8 and the Parliament session
from November nine, leaving little time for the Prime Minister
to carry out the exercise after his return from foreign tour.
The Prime Minister himself had talked about the
possibility of a reshuffle while talking to Editors last
There are a few vacancies in the ministry including one
following the resignation of Shashi Tharoor as Minister of
State for External Affairs in the wake of IPL controversy.
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who is holding
charge of several departments and ministries, had said after
becoming the ICC chief that he would like the Prime Minister
to lighten his burden.
There are at least half-a-dozen Union ministers who
are holding charge in the AICC also. Prithviraj Chavan,
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mukul Wasnik, V Narayan Swami are all
party general secretaries while M Veerappa Moily is in-charge
of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh.
A reconstitution of the AICC secretariat is also on
the cards following Sonia Gandhi`s re-election as the Congress
president for the fourth term.
Talk in party circles is that Gandhi, in consultation
with the Prime Minister, could utilise the opportunity to make
changes in the party and the government.