New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday accepted the resignation of Union Minister S M Krishna, while media reports said his colleagues Ambika Soni and Mukul Wasnik could also step down ahead of an expected cabinet reshuffle on Sunday.
Krishna, the External Affairs Minister, had filed his resignation earlier on Friday saying he wanted to give "youngsters" in the government a chance, and is now likely to be given an important position in the Karnataka unit of the Congress party.
"I want youngsters to be given a chance...I am a loyal party worker and I work for the party without any conditions," said Krishna.
The move, that comes before a cabinet reshuffle expected on Sunday morning could also be followed by the exit of Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik, who have reportedly offered to resign.
Reports also speculated if Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who was earlier said to have been in line for a "larger role" in the government, could be handed over a key portfolio in the government as a foundation for his touted Prime Ministerial candidacy in 2014 elections.
Earlier, sources said following Krishna's exit, he could concentrate more on Karnataka, a state from which he hails and where Congress has an opportunity to return to power in view of the division in the BJP ranks there.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will effect a long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle on Oct 28, media reports said.
Krishna's resignationa also comes a day after an ombudsman court on Thursday ordered a probe against three former Karnataka chief ministers including Krishna.
The Karnataka lokayukta would probe former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, external affairs minister SM Krishna and BS Yeddyurappa over alleged irregularities in the Bangalore-Mysore expressway project. All of them were CMs in Karanatak at various times.
Judge NK Sudhindra Rao directed Additional DGP (Lokayukta) HN Sathyanarayana Rao to conduct the probe against the three and 27 others in connection with the alleged corruption and illegalities.