Guwahati: Former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal takes oath as a union cabinet minister in Delhi on Wednesday.
An oath-taking ceremony of the newly inducted ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expanded cabinet is likely to take place either on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.
Like expected, Sonowal’s name was reportedly included in the list of some 43 leaders who are going to be included in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first cabinet expansion in his second term.
Sonowal has been camping in Delhi since Tuesday after the BJP top heads summoned him urgently. The former chief minister along with others on the list also met the PM already.
The meeting, held at the PM’s residence, was also attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkare, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP national president JP Nadda.
A photo of the meeting has been released showing Sonowal along with Jyotiraditya Scindia and Narayan Ranak in the first row. It is rumored that these three leaders will hold important posts in the Modi cabinet.
Sonowal was once a minister in the Union Sports Ministry before becoming the first BJP chief minister of Assam in 2016. Despite winning the polls for the second term, Sonowal vacated his post to make way for the state’s new chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Besides Sonowal, other faces from the northeast that likely to be part of Modi’s expanded cabinet are of Tripura West MP Pratima Bhowmick and Manipur Inner MP Rajkumar Ranjan Singh as MoS.
Meanwhile, MoS (Ind) Kiren Rijiju is likely to be promoted as a cabinet minister. If Rameswar Teli continues to be Modi cabinet then there would be at least five ministers from northeast in the proposed cabinet.
Other leaders like Pashupati Kumar Paras, Bhupender Yadav, Anupriya Patel, Shobha Karandlaje, Meenakshi Lekhi, Ajay Bhatt and Anurag Thakur are also reportedly going to also take the oath.
It may be mentioned that before the expansion of Modi’s cabinet, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Labor Minister Santosh Gangwar and several other ministers have tendered their resignations.
The Union cabinet which currently comprises of 52 faces is expected to add some 20 more ministers in the existing set up.
It is believed that the total size of the cabinet may go up to 75 to 81 ministers. Faces from BJP’s alliance partners like Janata Dal (United) JDU and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) may also be part of the ‘expanded’ cabinet, while ministers with extra portfolios may relieve extra posts for the new ministers.
The expansion is likely to see the induction of ministers from the five poll-bound states and also keeping in mind the 2024 general election, sources said.