A reshuffle-cum-expansion of the Union Council of Ministers could take place next week. Sources say the rejig could happen as early as even by Monday in which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could utilize the opportunity to fill several vacancies in his council of ministers.
The exercise is expected to be the last reshuffle in the UPA 2 with Lok Sabha elections less than a year away. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earier said that there are some vacancies and the issue of filling them up is being considered.
The latest vacancies in the Council of Ministers were created by the resignations of Union Ministers P K Bansal and Ashwani Kumar.
Bansal quit as Railways Minister earlier this month in the wake of bribery scandal involving his nephew and a Railway Board member. Kumar resigned as Law Minister following a controversy over vetting of a CBI probe report on coal block allocation scam.
The portfolio of Railways has been given to Road and Highways Minister C P Joshi as an additional charge while that of Law has gone to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal as additional ministry.
Under the reshuffle, ministers holding two portfolioscould be divested of one. With DMK and TMC withdrawing support from UPA governmentwithin less than a year, a number of slots vacated by them areyet to filled up.