Modi Cabinet re-shuffle: 5 ministers resign, Gadkari likely to get Railways

Union Ministers Rajiv Pratap Rudy Uma Bharti Resign From Modi Cabinet Arun Jaitley Likely to Give Up Defence

Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigns amid reports of likely cabinet reshuffle

As a precursor to the mega exercise, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjeev Balyan, and Faggan Singh Kulaste resigned from the Council of Ministers on Thursday.

The newly appointed chief of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP and Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Mahendra Pandey, has also offered to step down.

BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday held detailed consultations with the PM and it is understood that they have exchanged views on organisational "changes" that may revitalise the party before it goes into full-fledged election mode, in the run up to the 2019 general elections, sources said.

With Modi slated to travel to China Sunday afternoon for the BRICS summit and President Ram Nath Kovind slated to return to capital from Tirupati late Saturday afternoon, there was speculation that the reshuffle would take place over the weekend. Incumbent Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu offered to quit last week in the wake of recent back-to-back train derailments that claimed around two dozen lives.

However, the faction-ridden AIADMK is not likely to be invited to join the Cabinet. The Economic Times reported that Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Kalraj Mishra also tendered his resignation.

Just hours before Rudy's resignation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, when asked about how much longer he would hold additional charge of the defence portfolio, said: "At least I hope not very long". Science minister Harsh Vardhan was allotted the environment ministry.

Even during the last reshuffle in July past year, sources said, ministers were asked to submit their resignations to the party leadership first.

A party leader played it down, saying Shah meets Modi regularly and also pointed out that the meeting comes a day ahead of the beginning of a three-day meeting of the RSS and its allied organisations in Vrindavan. Pandey is likely to resign as a Union minister as he assumes his new charge, meaning there will be one more vacancy in the Cabinet.

Among ministers holding the additional portfolios include Smriti Irani, who was given the additional charge of Information and Broadcasting, after the elevation of M Venkaiah Naidu to the Vice President's post.

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