Will he or will he not? Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to be toying with the idea of shuffling his Cabinet after the Monsoon session of Parliament. If that does take place one would see a few entry, elevation, and shifting. Ever since former journalist M J Akbar was nominated for, and elected as, Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, there has been strong speculation about his appointment as Minister of State for External Affairs in charge of Gulf countries. Since these countries represent India’s energy lifeline, pragmatism demands that a relatively young, versatile and clear-headed Muslim be put in charge of the region. Ongoing regional developments, triggered by the rise of the Islamic State, escalating distrust between Saudi Arabia and Iran, bloody battles between Saudi Arabia and Yemeni Zaidis supported by Teheran, and turmoil in the arch from Syria to North Africa call for appointment of an intelligent and energetic minister who could push there India’s diplomatic interests. It is believed that as MOS Akbar would be able to able to impart a soft power image to the External Affairs Ministry even as it charts new muscular approaches to advance India’s overseas interests
The shuffling could be nominal. Union Cabinet Minister for Minority Affairs Nazma Heptullah could be appointed as Governor for Madhya Pradesh, where the incumbent is facing damning charges. This will pave the way for elevation of MOS Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as Cabinet Minister. MOS for Railways Manoj Sinha is seen as new human resources minister; Mrs Smriti Irani is likely to be shifted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry as cabinet minister. Cabinet Minister J P Nadda could be shown the door; and Dr Harshvardhan, MOS for Science & Tech & Earth Sciences, may take over as Cabinet Minister the reins of the health ministry.
As crucial Bihar legislative assembly elections loom large over the political horizon, portfolio of some of the ministers like Rajiv Pratap Rudy (MoS Skill Development & Entrepreneurship) could be shuffled and elevated.