Speculation is rife about the possibility of Cabinet expansion at the Centre.


NEW DELHI: With J.P. Nadda’s three-year term as BJP president set to end on 20 January, the party will announce a name to take charge of the organisation next week. The speculation is whether Nadda will be given extension or a Union minister will be appointed as his successor. At the same time, there are speculations that PM Narendra Modi is likely to carry out cabinet expansion and reshuffle.
There are two possibilities. One, the cabinet expansion may take place before the Budget session. Two, the exercise may happen in May when the Modi government will be completing four years. Amid all these discussions, all eyes are set on Madhya Pradesh. The spotlight is on MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Narendra Singh Tomar and Jyotiraditya Scindia. The speculation is again rife that Scindia may be given CM post in MP and Chouhan may be shifted to Centre. The reason being cited for this possibility is that Congress is gradually gaining ground in Madhya Pradesh. Former CM Kamal Nath appears to be succeeding in wooing public support again. So the high command may shift Chouhan to the Centre as a Cabinet minister. But the fact that cannot be ignored is that Chouhan’s supporters have a good hold on every single assembly seat. So, the high command is finding it difficult to take a call.
As Nadda’s term as BJP chief ends on 20 January, the party has to announce the new president. The BJP national executive is being held on 16-17 January, during which a new president would be decided. JP Nadda may be given an extension. The other names doing the rounds are those of Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Narendra Singh Tomar. Two CMs are also under consideration. The party may zero in on a south Indian leader as well. Cabinet expansion may be carried out after the announcement of a new BJP president. After defeat in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP is focussing on poll-bound states. So, it can take some big decisions in states such as Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. If no change takes place in MP, Scindia may then be given a major ministry at the Centre. PM Modi is said to be quite satisfied with Scindia’s work so far. A couple of more leaders from MP may be accommodated in the cabinet. Some heavyweights may be relieved of ministerial responsibilities. Some faces from Rajasthan may also be given berths in the ministry. PM will reconstitute his team, with focus on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.