Cabinet reshuffle underway? Uma Bharti, 3 others quit, more likely to go

Ministers resign as PM Narendra Modi plans major Cabinet reshuffle

A major Cabinet reshuffle is expected at the Centre ahead of the 2019 elections, media reports said.

Small and medium enterprises minister Kalraj Mishra, water resources and Ganga rejuvenation minister Uma Bharti, skill development minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, minister of state for human resource development Mahendra Nath Pandey and minister of state for water resources Sanjiv Baliyan have quit the government.

Among the ministers who resigned, Pandey was named the Uttar Pradesh BJP chief earlier in the day, and insiders said that Rudy may also be allotted organisational responsibilities.

The reshuffle may take place before Modi departs for China to attend the BRICS summit. 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.

According to TV reports, Union Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to give up the defence portfolio, which he was heading after the resignation of Manohar Parrikar in March.

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.

This will be the third such reshuffle since Modi took over in May 2014.

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Sources said they were summoned for their views on who the next BJP chief in UP should be.

Rudy told CNN-News18 that he was resigning to focus on "party organisation", but political analysts see it as a clear hint that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the verge of shuffling his pack.

Currently, two key ministries are without a full-time minister.

Kalraj Mishra is likely to be offered a gubernatorial assignment, sources said.

Talk of a reshuffle gained ground after the BJP last month chose its senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu as its vice-presidential candidate.

Besides Jaitley, three other union ministers are also holding additional charges of different ministries. There are several vacancies in the government while some senior ministers, including Arun Jaitley and Harsh Vardhan, are holding additional portfolios.

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