Cabinet Reshuffle Will Happen, Can't Say When, Says BJP Chief Amit Shah

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Cabinet Reshuffle Will Happen, Can't Say When, Says BJP Chief Amit Shah

There was speculation about major cabinet reshuffle after last week's meeting between PM Modi and Amit Shah


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. 'Political situation, time need to be factored in,' says BJP chief
  2. PM Modi discussed changes with Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley last week
  3. Reshuffle with an eye on Uttar Pradesh elections in 2017
There will be a reshuffle in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers, confirmed BJP chief Amit Shah today, but refused to say when.

"I am not going to discuss it with you. A lot of factors have to be taken into account, including the political situation or the time," Mr Shah said while addressing a press conference called to present a report card of the BJP government's two years in office.

Prime Minister Modi had, after the BJP's victory in the Assam elections last week, begun consultations with top party leaders for multi-layered changes in his council of ministers, Amit Shah's team of office-bearers, the party's Rajya Sabha members and even Governors.

He had met Mr Shah and finance minister Arun Jaitley for almost three hours last Friday and the first outcome of that meeting was the appointment of former top cop Kiran Bedi as the Lt Governor of Puducherry.

Top sources said Mr Shah has been entrusted with finalising the party's list of candidates for Rajya Sabha elections to be held on June 11.

58 of the 245 seats in the Upper House will be filled and several ministers like M Venkaiah Naidu, Nirmala Sitharaman, Chaudhary Birender Singh and Piyush Goyal hope for re-election. While Mr Goyal has already filed nomination from Maharashtra, it is unclear which states the BJP will field the others from.

The BJP hopes to bring at least 18 members in the Rajya Sabha, a gain of four, while the Congress, after its disastrous showing in state elections, could see its total number in the house depleting from 64 to 57.

With the BJP focused on the crucial Uttar Pradesh elections to be held early next year, the state is expected to find more representation in the Modi cabinet. Also some ministers may be pulled back into the organisation to work for the party for the election.

A top leader said Amit Shah's team may not see major changes. "It's a settled team. It's possible that vacancies due to some changes may get filled or people with specific expertise may be inducted," he said.

The party is also expected to place a new chief minister in Gujarat in place of Anandiben Patel, who is likely to be made a governor.


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