Union Cabinet reshuffle on cards?

Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi, Jun 14: An expansion of the Union Cabinet and reshuffle of the ministry and appointment of some Governors and top bureaucrats in some of the key ministries are expected to take place later this month.

Sources said the changes may take place once Prime Minister Manmohan Singh undertakes the process of consultation with Congress President Sonia Gandhi after her return from a holiday this week-end.

The talk in ruling party circles is that the exercise could take place later this month or early July, ahead of of the monsoon session of Parliament.

The possibility of reshuffle has brightened 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.

There is also talk of appointment of Governors with some incumbent holding the post in more than one state like Rajasthan.

In Tamil Nadu, SS Barnala has far outlasted his tenure as Governor of the state and the Centre may be looking at 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.


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