|Ministerial berths for Kalita, Mithi likely|
NEW DELHI, Sept 24 – Amidst intense speculation over a possible reshuffle of the Dr Manmohan Singh’s Government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday held a series of meetings to finalise the list of Ministers. An expansion is expected later this week.
PCC president and Rajya Sabha MP, Bhubaneswar Kalita and former Chief Minister, Mukut Mithi figures in the list of probable from the North-East. Also in the running is Ranee Narah, the lone Lok Sabha women MP from the State and whip of the Congress Party.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) of the AICC is scheduled to meet tomorrow to take stock of the present political situation and chalk out the strategy ahead. It will be chaired by the Congress Party president. The meeting is expected to discuss the evolving political situation in the wake of Trinamool Congress severing ties with UPA and the UPA Government’s decision to push ahead with reforms.
Sources said the possibility of North-East getting another berth in the council of minister is bright because Minister of State, Agatha Sangma is likely to be replaced by NCP. The names doing the round are that of Kalita and Mithi, besides Narah. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Nabam Tuki last week called on the Congress president and requested that Mithi should be inducted in the Central Ministry.
Meanwhile, as part of the exercise connected with the pending Cabinet expansion, the Congress president held parleys with a select group after which she held separate meeting with some Union Ministers and senior party leaders.
Those who met Gandhi at her official residence at 10 Janpath included Road and Transport Minister C P Joshi, who has been given additional charge of Railways after resignation of Mukul Roy from the government.
The Congress president also held deliberations with Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, AICC treasurer Motilal Vora and her secretary Ahmed Patel.
According to indications, the reshuffle could be major and possibly the last such exercise before the 2014 general election. The Congress is likely to induct 15 new ministers into its Cabinet. Among other names being considered for Cabinet berths are those of Telugu actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi, NCP MP Tariq Anwar and Congress leaders Gurudas Kamat, Vilas Baburao Muttemwar and Shashi Tharoor.
Congress General Secretary Rahul key aides Meenakshi Natarajan and party spokesperson Manish Tewari are also counted as probable.