The stage is set now for a major revamp of the Union Council of Ministers on Sunday with the likely induction of at least 10 new faces and promotion of some Ministers of State, besides a rejig in the Cabinet in which Anand Sharma may get External Affairs portfolio.
Ahead of the reshuffle, three Cabinet Ministers Ambika Soni (I&B), Mukul Wasnik (Social Justice) and Subodh Kant Sahai (Tourism) and Minister of State Mahadev Khandela (Tribal Affairs) resigned today, saying they would work for the party. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had quit yesterday.
The ceremony for swearing-in of new ministers is scheduled at 11.30 hours at the Rashtrapati Bhavan tomorrow when a number of new faces are likely to be inducted.
Rahul Gandhi, who was earlier speculated to be joining the government, is unlikely to do so. He may be in for a larger role in the party and could be made Working President.
59-year-old Sharma, who is tipped to move from Commerce to take the place of Krishna, has done a stint in the MEA as MoS in UPA one. As Congress leader he had campaigned against apartheid in South Africa.
His place in Commerce is all set to go to 53-year-old Purandeswari, daughter of the late N T Rama Rao, after her eight-year tenure in as MoS in HRD Ministry.
Prominent among the newcomers expected to be inducted are actor-turned politician Chiranjeevi (Andhra Pradesh), A H Khan Chowdhry, brother of late A B A Ghani Khan Chowdhry, Pradeep Bhattacharya and Deepa Dasmunsi (West Bengal), Tariq Anwar (Maharashtra), Pradeep Balmuchu (Jharkhand) and Pradeep Majhi (Odisha).
Besides Purandeswari and Ajay Maken, who could also be promoted as a Cabinet minister, Ministers of State who could be upgraded are Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora. Maken may get Information and Broadcasting portfolio.
In the rejig of portfolios, Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath is likely to be given additional charge of Parliamentary Affairs, now held by Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is expected to retain Water Resources.