Union minister Harsh Vardhan and Ramesh Pokhriyal have resigned ahead of the cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday evening. The expanded Union cabinet is set to be sworn in the Rasshtrapathi Bhavan Durbar Hall at 6 pm with only 50 invitations issued for the Wednesday event amid Covid protocols. President House sources said the ceremony would be curtailed on account of the pandemic.
Including 11 women ministers, 43 ministers are taking oath around 6 pm. ‘Modi Team’ average age drops to 58. It includes bulk of doctors, lawyers and engineers
Sources also said that Union Minister Chemicals and Fertilizers Sadananda Gowda, MoS Consumers Affairs Danve Raosaheb Dadarao, Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre have resigned as well. Minister of State for Women and Child Development Ministry Debasree Chaudhuri also resigned from the Union Cabinet on Wednesday. Chaudhuri reportedly submitted her resignation this morning, one of her close aides said.
The Cabinet expansion, which is expected on July 7, will be the first reshuffle since the Modi government returned to power for the second time in 2019. Ahead of the expansion on Wednesday evening, the ministers probably met PM Modi at his residence. Those meeting Modi included BJP’s Narayan Rane, Sarbananda Sonowal, Jyotiradithya Scindia, Ajay Bhatt, Bhupender Yadav, Shoba Karandlaje, Sunita Duggal, Meenakshi Lekhi, Bharathi Pawar, Shantanu Thakur and Kapil Patil, JD(U)’s R C P Singh, LJP’s Pashupathi Paras and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel.
Reports are doing round that it would be the ‘youngest Cabinet’ in the history of Independent India. In the past month, PM Modi conducted several meetings with BJP president JP Nadda and union ministers, including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and several others.