Bhubaneswar: Even though two Odias are currently representing the State in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet, one more MP from Odisha is expected to be inducted into the Cabinet which is likely to be expanded in a day or two.
It is widely speculated that Ashwini Vaishnav, former bureaucrat turned politician, who was elected to the Upper House with the help of BJD, might get a berth in the expanded Cabinet.
As per national media reports, Vaishnav is one among others in the top race for a berth in the new Cabinet.
Currently, Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi has held an important portfolio as a Minister of State while another from Odisha Dharmendra Pradhan, even after getting elected to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, is also representing the State in the Union Cabinet.
However, the induction of any MPs from any state is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister.
“It is the prerogative and Constitutional right of the Prime Minister who can induct anyone into the Cabinet and also remove. There is no such rule in the Constitution that he would consult anyone in the Cabinet before expanding it,” Union Minister Pratap Sarangi said.
Political analyst and senior journalist Rajaram Satpathy observed, “It is obvious that people of Odisha would expect one more MP from the State to get a berth in the Union Cabinet. The name of Ashwini Vaishnav is doing rounds in the national media.”
The rejig, first of the PM Modi's second cabinet, is likely to be effected in view of the poll-bound states and 2024 Parliamentary elections.
Currently, there are 53 ministers, most of them having multiple portfolios. The Union Cabinet can have 81 members. As many as 28 new faces can be added during the expansion.
As per reports, those who have additional portfolios may be relived of some ministries.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, who left the Congress last year in Madhya Pradesh and Sarbananda Sonowal, the former Chief Minister of Assam, have topped the chart in the expected list of new faces.
Among other leaders in the fray for a ministerial berth include former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Sushil Modi, Maharashtra leader Narayan Rane and Bhupendra Yadav.
Majority of leaders from poll-bound Uttar Pradesh may get a berth in the expansion. Names of Varun Gandhi, Ramshankar Katheria, Anil Jain, Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Zafar Islam are doing rounds.