Modi to reshuffle his council of ministers

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When Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejigs his council of ministers on Sunday, September 3 morning - the third reshuffle since his government took over on May 26, 2014 and the first in exactly 14 months - the single biggest question will be whether he would be naming a new, full-fledged defence minister, and if so, who.

The Uttarakhand BJP doesn't appear hopeful about any of its four remaining parliamentarians being picked for the Union Cabinet on Sunday.The Cabinet reshuffle reports gained credence after half-a-dozen ministers put in their papers late on Thursday night.

After resigning from the post of Union Minister of State Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that his resignation from the post was the party's decision and further refuted any strategy behind it.

ANI quoted Rudy on Friday as saying that his resignation was the Centre's "decision. perogative ".

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But these are just reports and going by the history, we all know that PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah can surprise everyone with their choice.

Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu might face the axe due to the controversies in their ministries: the farmer protests in Madhya Pradesh and train accidents.

News reports said his ministry is expected to go to NItin Gadkari.

Apart from them, Union Minister Giriraj Singh is also expected to quit after a nudge from the party to pave way for the Cabinet reshuffle.

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The second important reason is that several Cabinet Ministers are holding additional portfolios. Analysts feel the move aims to salvage his image which suffered a dent lately for two key factors: a major slowdown in economic growth and the demonetisation gamble having come a cropper.The possibility a major reshuffle in the Union Cabinet though has evoked a lukewarm response from the BJP's state unit.

Ananth Kumar holds the portfolios of Chemicals & Fertilisers and Parliamentary Affairs, while Dr Harshvardhan has been handling the additional charge of Forest & Environment after the death of Anil Dave, besides holding the Ministry of Science, Technology & Earth Sciences.

If sources are to be believed, the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) carried out a detailed audit of performance of Cabinet ministers. Modi, who is known to have curtailed the media interaction of his ministers and party leaders, was reportedly irked by the controversial statements made by Balyan.

There was some speculation earlier that, in a bid to expand the already massive NDA coalition, Modi and Shah could formalise a pact with Sharad Pawar's NCP and the AIADMK-and members from both these parties could also be inducted. Another contender could be Rajya Sabha MP, V Maithreyan. He is now minister for medium and small enterprises.

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