Modi to expand Cabinet on Sunday, Parrikar and Naqvi frontrunners.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to expand his council of ministers on Sunday with top BJP leaders maintaining that at least six new faces, including Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, are expected to be inducted.

Though the BJP top brass remained tight-lipped on the issue, party sources said spokesperson and prominent Muslim face, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, and the BJP youth wing president Anurag Thakur are the other leaders being considered for a ministerial berth.

Sources on Thursday told Headlines Today that Parrikar has agreed to shift to New Delhi.

Goa chief minister however said party chief Amit Shah had called him and confirmed that he was getting the Defence Ministry. 

Modi, accompanied by BJP patriarch L K Advani, met President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday morning, triggering speculation of an imminent reshuffle. The Prime Minister's Office later said Modi's visit to Rashtrapati Bhavan was to attend a Gurbani recital to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Some new faces from Bihar and Rajasthan besides a few from the BJP allies like the Shiv Sena and the Telugu Desam Party are expected to find a place in the government, sources indicated.

Incidentally, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, whose Telugu Desam Party is a BJP ally, also indicated that an expansion of the Cabinet is on the cards.       

"You will know details about the Cabinet expansion in two days," said Naidu, who walked off the stage for a few minutes during an interview at the World Economic Forum's India summit in New Delhi to attend a phone call but refused to identify the caller.

There are currently 22 Cabinet members and as many Ministers of State, including 10 with independent charges. Many BJP leaders like Nitin GadkariArun JaitleyPrakash JavadekarNirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal have been given the charge of multiple ministries.

 

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