New Delhi: Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari has been given additional charge of the ministries of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation - the portfolios held by Gopinath Munde.
Mr Gadkari, 57, will hold the reins of all these portfolios till the next expansion of the union council of ministers, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be expected to fill up the vacancy created by Mr Munde's sudden demise. There are indications that Mr Modi will expand his ministry in the next 2-3 weeks, before the commencement of the budget session of Parliament.
Mr Munde, 64, died in a road accident in the capital yesterday. He was cremated with full state honours this afternoon in his ancestral village in Parli in Maharashtra's Beed district. In a break from tradition, his oldest daughter, Pankaja Munde-Palve, who is the lawmaker from Parli, performed the last rites. BJP leaders from all over the country attended the funeral.
Like Mr Munde, Mr Gadkari, too, hails from Maharashtra. He makes his debut in the Lok Sabha this year. The former BJP president defeated former union minister Vilas Muttemwar of the Congress from Vidarbha.