Some of the government’s most high profile ministers quit ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet reshuffle, with 36 new ministers joining the government and seven getting promotions.
The exits of IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar stood out on a day those who resigned were the bigger news than the entrants.
Harsh Vardhan’s resignation comes as the government battles criticism of its handling of the second wave of Covid in April-May, which ambushed India’s health infrastructure and left tens of thousands desperate for oxygen, hospital beds and vaccine.
The government’s vaccination plan, which is also under the Health Ministry, is also floundering.
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar have also quit. So have Sadananda Gowda, Debashree Chaudhuri, Sanjay Dhotre and Ratan Lal Kataria.
PM Modi’s cabinet reshuffle, the first in his second term, will see 43 ministers being sworn in this evening.
Maharashtra’s former chief minister Narayan Rane, Bhiwandi Lok Sabha MP Kapil Patil, leader of BJP’s Uttar Pradesh ally Anupriya Patel, Congress-turned-BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, Uttarakhand lawmaker Ajay Bhatt and the saffron party national president JP Nadda on Wednesday arrived at Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s official residence ahead of cabinet expansion.
Besides them, Sarbananda Sonowal, Bhupender Yadav, Anurag Thakur, Meenakshi Lekhi, Shobha Karandlaje, Sunita Dugga, Pritam Munde and Santanu Thakur are also at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, the official residence of the PM.
PM Modi is said to effect the first reshuffle in his Council of Ministers around 6pm since he assumed the charge for a second term, in what is tipped to be a “major shake-up” of the government as he looks to make it more representative with an eye on political and governance challenges.
BJP leaders Sonowal, Scindia and Rane, all of whom are being seen as probables for induction as ministers in the Modi government, arrived in the national capital on Tuesday.
With inputs from NDTV, News18