Agartala: As many as 43 ministers are likely to take oath in a major cabinet expansion-cum-reshuffle drive on Wednesday evening, sources said, after several Union ministers including Harsh Vardhan and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank resigned and a number of new entrants met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi.

Among the new ministerial probables, three persons from the Northeast are likely to take oath, as per sources.

For the first time in the history of Indian politics, a Tripura MP is likely to find a place in the new Cabinet. West Tripura MP Pratima Bhoumik has been selected among the new ministers.

Bhoumik will be appointed as a minister of state (MoS), sources added.

Bhoumik had secured 5,73,532 votes and was elected from West Tripura constituency with a margin of 3,05,689 votes against her closest candidate Subal Bhowmik from Congress.

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Among the other possible faces from the Northeast, former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Manipur MP Rajkumar Ranjan Singh are likely to take oath in the expanded Cabinet.

Arunachal Pradesh MP and Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju will continue to be in the Modi government, sources said.

Meanwhile, those who met Modi on Wednesday included BJP’s Narayan Rane, Sarbananda Sonowal, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Bhatt, Bhupender Yadav, Shobha Karandlaje, Sunita Duggal, Meenakshi Lekhi, Bharati Pawar, Shantanu Thakur and Kapil Patil, JD(U)’s R C P Singh, LJP’s Pashupati Paras and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel.

Some ministers of state, including G Kishan Reddy, Parshottam Rupala and Anurag Thakur, Hardeep Singh Puri, Mansukh Mandaviya, RK Singh and Kiran Rijiju, were also there, and they may be elevated, sources said.

Sources added that around 43 persons, including those getting a promotion, may take oath, and the team will be a mix of youth and those with administrative experience, including former chief ministers.

Virendra Kumar, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Pankaj Choudhary, SPS Baghel, Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, Darshana Jardosh, Annpurna Devi, AR Narayana Swami, Kaushal Kishor, BL Verma, Ajay Kumar, Pratima Bhoumik, Bhagwant Khuba, Subhash Sarkar, Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad, Bharti Pawar, John Barla and Nishit Pramanik were also among those who met Modi in the morning.

BJP president J P Nadda, along with senior party leaders Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and BL Santhosh were present during the meetings.

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Hours before the cabinet expansion, scheduled to be held at 6 pm at Rashtrapati Bhawan, several ministers including Vardhan, Pokhriyal and Sadananda Gowda as also Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Debasree Chaudhuri, Minister of State for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria, Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo resigned from their positions.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot had resigned on Tuesday after he was made Governor of Karnataka.

This will be the first reshuffle in his Council of Ministers by Modi since he assumed charge for a second term in May 2019.

The Prime Minister is expected to bring in young faces and give representation to various social groups and regions in the reshuffle, sources said.



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