The reshuffle has been expected for some time.
While speculation on AIADMK being invited to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet is on, the buzz on Friday was that the ruling party in Tamil Nadu is unlikely to join the government on Sunday.
There is a buzz that Modi might relieve health minister JP Nadda from his cabinet role and ask him to focus on the upcoming Himachal Pradesh elections-where he could be projected as the party's chief ministerial candidate to take on Congress' Virbhadra Singh. "A process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan at around 10 am on Sunday", a top government official told PTI.
In a broad indication of the reshuffle, fourr ministers, including Uma Bharti and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, have resigned since late Thursday night and several more may step down.
Currently, two key ministries are without a full-time minister.
Arun Jaitley, who was holding the portfolio of Finance and Corporate Affairs, was given the additional charge of Defence.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who has offered to resign after multiple derailments took place recently, is likely to get the environment ministry, a CNN-News18 report said. "Because, the Prime Minister believes in complete concentration of power", party spokesperson Anand Sharma said here. Exit of 76-year-old Kalraj Mishra as minister nearly seems a fait accompli.
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NDTV said the new-look council of ministers will include BJP leaders from states where elections will be held in the next few months, like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
"They are our party veterans yet there is a little likelihood of Modiji inducting them into his Cabinet owing to various factors", another BJP leader said.One, he clarified, two former chief ministers - octogenarian Khanduri and former BJP state chief Koshiyari - were out of reckoning due to their advanced age. Besides, equally interlinked is the issue of gubernatorial appointments and the government is likely to announce seven or eight new state governors, many of whom may be from the present Cabinet.
With just 18 months away from 2019 general elections, this rejig is very important for the Modi government.
The newcomers in the Cabinet will mostly be from the allies, Janata Dal (United) and AIADMK.The AIADMK's Thambi Durai and K Venugopal are being seen as among the likely representatives of their party if it joins the Modi government.
Naidu's Information and Broadcasting portfolio went to Smriti Irani, the minister for Textiles.
But the seats are limited as the current strength of the council of ministers, including the prime minister, is 73 and the maximum number can not go beyond 81.