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Full time Defence Minister needed: Is Suresh Prabhu the man?

By Vicky

In the wake of the increased aggression by Pakistan, the question being asked is why does the Modi sarkar not have a full time defence minister. It is the most important portfolio today in the backdrop of the enemy turning rogue and killing Indian soldiers in the most brutal fashion.

A cabinet reshuffle was on the cards post Parliament session. However at the moment there is no word on it and Arun Jaitley, the Finance Minister of India continues to hold the additional charge of defence. The post of Defence Minister fell vacant after Manohar Parrikar left Delhi to become the Chief Minister of Goa.

File Photo of Suresh Prabhu

Sources say that Jaitley is unlikely to be given the full charge of defence. He would continue as the Finance Minister of India. Team Modi is considering shifting Suresh Prabhu from Railways to Defence.

He is currently one of the strongest contender to the post. He is said to have performed well as the Railways Minister and with a clean image, he is the most favoured for the all-important defence portfolio.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen on having someone senior and trustworthy as the defence minister. The ministry cannot be handled as an additional charge as it is a crucial portfolio, Modi also feels. If the name of Prabhu does not work out, then a new face from the states is likely to be brought in to take over the mantle.

What to expect from the re-shuffle?

If Prabhu is given defence, then the mantle of the railways may fall on Manoj Sinha who is currently the minister for state for railways. The BJP is thinking of making Sinha a Cabinet minister and give him the full charge of railways.

Sources also say that possibility of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje may be brought to Delhi. The rumour mill is abuzz that she is likely to be made the external affairs minister. Sushma Swaraj who has health issues is unable to travel extensively and hence her replacement is being considered. If Vasundhara is moved to Delhi, then she is likely to be replaced by Om Mathur, the BJP's general secretary.

The BJP is also contemplating moving J P Nadda to Himachal Pradesh if the BJP comes to power. Nadda who is the Union minister for health has been a contender for the post of Himachal Pradesh CM. Elections in the state are due in October.

After the Parliament session, the BJP would also discuss the possible candidates for President of India. There are several names that are doing the rounds amid growing demands for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat to take over the post. The BJP is also contemplating making the 76-year-old minister, Kalraj Mishra as a governor. He is currently the minister for micro, small and medium enterprise.

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