Naidu vacates his ministries, BJP leaders eye early reshuffle

Some BJP leaders said Modi had “rewarded” Smriti Irani with additional charge of I&B as she had performed well in Textiles.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to fill the vacancies in his council of ministers with senior leaders from the party and the induction is likely in about a month when the Monsoon session of Parliament concludes.

“It could be just within a month. And not just in the government, things will change in the party as well as new people will take over in the organisation,” a senior party leader told ThePrint, a day after Urban Development and I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu was picked as the NDA’s Vice Presidential candidate, causing him to quit the government.

“Many in the organisation are considered for the coveted ministries and enjoy the trust of the PM,” the leader added.

On Tuesday, Textiles minister Smriti Irani was given additional charge of the I&B portfolio while Narendra Singh Tomar was given Urban Development. The announcement stirred things up in the party as many had set their eyes on the coveted ministries. Party sources insisted these additional charges were temporary and due to the “emergency” created by Naidu’s resignation.

“The ministries cannot be left headless and the additional charge had to be given to someone. Already the cabinet is short-staffed as senior ministers are handling more than one ministry. The changes are likely to take place soon,” said another senior party leader.

Many in the party could be heard discussing the implications of the “elevation” of Irani as I&B is viewed as a promotion for her. They recalled how Irani was sidelined when she was made Textiles minister after the high-profile HRD portfolio was taken away from her.

However, some party leaders said Modi had decided to reward her with an important ministry because she had performed well in Textiles.

 

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