Sonia meets PM amid talks of Cabinet reshuffle

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday held consultations giving further grist to the speculation mill over a possible reshuffle of the Union Cabinet.

This is the fourth meeting of the two leaders in recent days amid indications that the reshuffle would take place any time this week.

There has been no official word on when exactly the Prime Minister would carry out the exercise.

The talk in party circles is that if the exercise was `more fundamental`, then there would be several changes in the Cabinet at the middle level.

About 10 to 12 ministers including new entrants from Trinamool Congress and Congress are likely to be involved in the reshuffle.

Sources said that Trinamool Congress Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandhyopadhyay may get a berth and could be inducted as Minister of State, possibly in the Finance Ministry in charge of Revenue.

There is also speculation that incumbent Minister of State Finance in-charge of Revenue S S Palanimanickam may be upgraded to Cabinet rank in the wake of resignations by his DMK colleagues A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran from the Cabinet.

The talk in Trinamool Congress is that Mamata Banerjee could entrust senior leader Dinesh Trivedi with the Railways portfolio she vacated after becoming West Bengal Chief Minister.

DMK may opt for the upgrade in view of the fact that it is said to be not in a mood to name new entrants into the government at this juncture when two of its ministers had to resign under a cloud and party chief Karunanidhi`s daughter Kanimozhi is in jail.