With Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu nominated as NDA candidate for the post of vice president against UPA pick Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to go for a Cabinet expansion. Days after Gandhi’s candidature was announced by the joint Opposition for vice presidential election, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah today declared Naidu’s name for the poll on Monday, reports news agency PTI. It was followed by a list of ministers extending their supports to Naidu. As it seems almost certain that the minister, who is currently holding charge of the ministries of Information and Broadcasting and Urban Development, would be elected as the next vice president, it will leave two heavyweight portfolios without a Cabinet minister. Besides these portfolios, the two key ministries – Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change – is also running without a full-time minister. While the former ministry is running under Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after Manohar Parrikar moved to Goa as its chief minister, the environment ministry is under Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan after the death of Anil Dave in May, this year. Considering this, the Centre is likely to expand its cabinet. The PTI quoting its BJP sources reported that a reshuffle in the Union council of ministers is expected after the monsoon session of Parliament. The sources further confirmed the possibility of some new faces to be inducted into the Cabinet, said the report.
However, it is not the first incidence of cabinet reshuffle under Narendra Modi government. Months after the government was formed in 2014, PM Modi in November expended his cabinet while inducting 21 new faces, including Manohar Parrikar as defence minister. It was again in July last year, the Cabinet witnessed a reshuffle. This time, PM Modi had appointed Prakash Javadekar as the human resource development minister while replacing Smriti Irani. As a part of this reshuffle, Irani was given charge of the Ministry of Textiles.