New Delhi, Jul 11: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will undertake a reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers tomorrow inducting some new faces and elevating some in the exercise that may also see a few being dropped.
Trinamool Congress Chief Whip in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandhopadhyay is set to be inducted as a Minister of State while his party colleague and Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi is tipped to be promoted to Cabinet rank and shifted to Railway Ministry.
The Railway portfolio became vacant after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee resigned and took over as Chief Minister of West Bengal after the Assembly elections in May.
The reshuffle exercise, second in six months, was finalised at a meeting the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi this morning. This was their fourth meeting in recent days.
The reshuffle, which is expected to place at 5 PM, may leave untouched the ‘big four'—Finance, Home, Defence and External Affairs.
With Uttar Pradesh set to go to Assembly polls next year, Minister of State for Steel with independent charge Beni Prasad Verma is likely to be promoted as a Cabinet Minister while Raj Babbar, MP from Agra, may find a berth.
Those speculated for promotion include Jyotiraditya Scindia (MoS Telecom) and Gurudas Kamat (MoS Home) and shifted to some other ministries with Independent charge.
The resignation of Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran in the wake of his being named in the 2G scam and the resignation offer by Corporate Affairs Minister Murli Deora has lent urgency to the reshuffle.
Another DMK representative A Raja quit as Teleocm Minister in connection with the 2G scam in November and the party appears to be in no mood to fill these vacancies with its candidates, at least for the time being.
Among others being talked about for promotion is Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena, who was a Cabinet Minister in the United Front government in the mid-1990s.
Those who may make the exit include Minister for Development of North East Region B K Handique whose place may be taken by Pabansingh Ghatowar, MP from Dibrugarh in Assam. Tribal Affairs Minister Kanti Lal Bhuria, who has been made Madhya Pradesh Congress President, may be asked to take up party work full time.
There is expectation that Andhra Pradesh, which has only one representative in the Cabinet, could see more MPs getting into the Ministry. Chhattisgarh, Goa and Manipur, which have no representation may also get some ministerial berths. PTI