sns & pti
NEW DELHI, 19 JUNE: The much awaited reshuffle of the Union Cabinet will take place tomorrow, ahead of which Mr C P Joshi also stepped down as Cabinet Minister after Mr Ajay Maken.
Both Mr Joshi and Mr Maken had handed in their resignations last night. Their resignations were accepted today by President Pranab Mukherjee with immediate effect, a Rashtrapati Bhawan communiqué said.
The reshuffle will take place tomorrow evening, a Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesperson said. The reshuffle is expected to be utilised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to fill several vacancies in the Cabinet.
The names of Ms Meenakshi Natarajan, considered close to party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, and Mr Oscar Fernandes are being mentioned in Congress circles for a possible berth in the Cabinet. There was also speculation that Minister of State Charan Das Mahant, who hails from poll-bound Chhattisgarh, will be elevated.
Mr Joshi, who was holding dual portfolios of Surface Transport and Highways and Railways, resigned following “directives” from the Congress high command, sources close to him said.
Mr Maken, who was Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, has expressed his desire to work for the party. His resignation comes ahead of Assembly elections in Delhi later this year.
The reshuffle of the Council of Ministers is expected to be the last such exercise in UPA-II with Lok Sabha elections less than a year away. This is the second reshuffle since October last year.
Mr Singh had earlier said the issue of filling up vacancies was being considered. The latest vacancies in the Cabinet were created by the resignations of Union Ministers P K Bansal and Ashwani Kumar.