Allies not touched because of Assembly polls

New Delhi: Government on Thursday said the UPA allies were not covered in the reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers in view of the upcoming Assembly elections in various states and an expansion can take place after the Budget session of Parliament.

"It was not that big a reshuffle. Only the portfolios were shuffled," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said here while briefing media on the Cabinet meeting.

She noted that UPA allies were not covered in yesterday`s reshuffle as it was not apt to do so in view of the upcoming Assembly elections.

Assembly elections are due to take place in a few months in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Soni said an expansion could take place after the Budget session of Parliament as she referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s statement in this regard.

Singh had said that a "expansive" reshuffle would be undertaken after the Budget session.

The Budget session will begin on February 21 and is expected to go on till May.

To questions on the rejig undertaken yesterday, Soni said it would help bring new thinking and experience on the basis of specific capabilities of various Ministers.

"Every reshuffle has a benefit," she said, adding yesterday`s exercise would give a new chance to various Ministers.

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