Top 4 to remain stable;cabinet reshuffle to throw surprises?

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi, Jul 10: With the UPA hoping for an image makeover with the expected Cabinet reshuffle as early as Monday, hectic parleys are on to among allies and to-be allies keeping in mind the elections in various states. With the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in this regard on Saturday, further last-minute discussion is expected on Sunday as well.

With sources claiming that there will be no change in the four top portfolios of Defence, Finance, External Affairs and Home Affairs.There are likely to be new faces inducted like Raj Babbar.

With Congress' trouble-shooter and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee visiting Chennai to meet with DMK Chief Karuananidhi and offering him two Cabinet berths, the former Tamil Nadu CM remained non-committal and has not confirmed whether he will accept the offer or let it pass considering the changed equations with the Centre. Three of the top DMK party members have been caught in the spectrum scam including Karunanidhi's daughter, Kanimozhi and presently housed in the Tihar Jail.

With the UPA hoping to put the past behind and focusing on pleasing allies for the future, there are posts that needs to be filled, especially when Cabinet Minister s are being burdened with dual roles. There are also additional posts open when Corporate Affairs Minister Murli Deora has expressed interest not to continue in the Cabinet. The resignation of Dayanidhi Maran as Union Textile Minister has also opened yet another portfolio for berth-seekers.

Other portfolios to be filled included the Railway Ministry that was left vacant after Mamta Banerjee assumed the role of CM of West Bengal. Kapil Sibal hold dual responsibility of Human Resource Development and Telecom; while Pawan Kumar Bansal handles Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Parliamentary Affairs.

With the DMK still undecided on their role in the revamped Cabinet, the regional party is in no position to dictate terms to the Centre following the arrest of Raja and Kanimozhi and the recent resignation of Maran. The PM had earlier expressed apprehension on the inclusion of former road transport minister T R Baalu into the Cabinet, a move that could work to the advantage of T S Elangovan.

With the UPA in dire straits following the spate of corruptions and scams that emerged during its regime, the cabinet reshuffle is being considered a welcome measure to sooth hostile allies and forge new ones. But will they be successful in achieving it remains to be seen.

OneIndia News

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