Big names – Jaitley, Rajnath, Gadkari – likely in to be Modi’s compact Cabinet

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New Delhi: Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Venkaiah Naidu and Shiv Sena’s Anant Geete are likely to be included in a compact cabinet headed by Narendra Modi who has decided on a radical restructuring of the government with one cabinet minister heading a cluster of departments in complementary sectors.

A day ahead of his being sworn in as India’s 15th Prime Minister, it was stated on behalf of Modi that one cabinet minister would head a cluster of ministries working in complementary sectors so as to ensure convergence in the activities of various ministries.

Top layers of the government would eventually be downsized and there would be expansion at the grass root level, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister-designate’s secretariat from Gujarat Bhawan where he has been ensconced for the last four days holding consultations on his government formation.

In forming his cabinet, Modi has adopted the principle of “minimum government and maximum governance” and also “rationalisation with a commitment to bring a change in the work culture and style of governance,” it said.

The statement came at the end of another day of guessing game about the names of ministers to figure in the Modi cabinet that will be sworn in at 6 pm tomorrow. Till late Sunday night, even Rashtrapati Bhavan had received no list of ministers from the Prime Minister-designate. The final list is now expected to be sent tomorrow morning.

However, indications were that Jaitley would get Finance, Rajnath will be in charge of Home and Gadkari one of the infrastructure ministries. Geete would also have a Cabinet portfolio. Other names making the rounds for the cabinet include Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Uma Bharti,

Harsh Vardhan and Piyush Goel. Sources said that the number of ministers would be between 30 and 35 which would be much smaller than usual. However, an expansion of the ministry may take place later. There was no clarity on the role of Advani with some reports suggesting that he may not be made lok Sabha Speaker which he is said to favour but he may continue as NDA chairman.

In that case, Sumitra Mahajan, a senior BJP Parliamentarian and former minister, may become the Speaker. Deputy Speaker in the outgoing Lok Sabha, Karia Munda’s name is also being speculated for this post.

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