New faces to be inducted in Union Cabinet today


New Delhi: Several new faces, including some from dalit community, are likely to be included in the expansion and reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers today, an exercise being done with an eye on the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and a few other states next year.

In the expansion, the second since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over in May, 2014 new faces like Anupriya Patel, an OBC Lok Sabha member of ally Apna Dal in Uttar Pradesh, besides BJP MPs S S Ahluwalia (West Bengal) and Purushottam Rupala, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, may be inducted.

Krishna Raj, a dalit woman MP from Uttar Pradesh, Mahendra Nath Pandey, a Brahmin face in the state, Ajay Tamta, a dalit MP from Uttarakhand, which also goes to polls next year, also figure in the list of probables.

Arjun Ram Meghwal, a dalit BJP MP from Rajasthan, Ramdas Athawale, another dalit leader and RPI MP from Maharashtra, can get ministerial berths besides Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, who is also from Maharashtra, and Mansukhbhai Mandaviya, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat.

The names of Rajya Sabha MPs Vijay Goel, M J Akbar, Anil Madhav Dave, Bhupender Yadav and P P Chaudhary, Lok Sabha member from Pali in Rajasthan, have also been doing the rounds as possible inductions.

Many of these leaders met party chief Amit Shah on Monday, who is also likely to announce the party’s organisational team soon.

Some ministers can also be dropped, party sources said, while a few state ministers can be promoted and portfolios of some others may witness changes.

Frank Noronha, Principal spokesperson of the government, on Monday tweeted that the cabinet expansion will take place today at 11 AM.

There is also a vacancy in the Council of Ministers after Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal became the Chief Minister of Assam. The first expansion had occurred in November 2014.

There are currently 64 Union ministers, including the Prime Minister, and there can be a maximum of 82 of them under a constitutional bar.

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