Stage set for PM Narendra Modi's first Cabinet expansion

New Delhi: Ahead of the Cabinet expansion and reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hosted a breakfast meet for the new faces to be inducted in his Cabinet.

Manohar Parrikar, who is tipped to be the next Defence Minister, BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Olympian shooter-turned-politician Rajyavardhan Rathore and BJP MP from West Bengal Babul Supriyo are among those who attended the breakfast meet.

Around 20 new faces are expected to be inducted into the Union Council of Ministers in the first revamp exercise which is likely to bring in BJP leaders Parrikar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Rudy and Bandaru Dattatreya while elevating a few.

Rathore, who is likely to be inducted in the Cabinet, said that the Prime Minister invited him for the breakfast.

"I am proud that he (Modi) has selected me. It is a great honour. With it comes greater responsibility... I have come here for responsibility," he said.

Singh, who was elected from Jaipur Rural in Rajasthan, stressed that Modi expected performance.

"He just wants performance. Perhaps, by taking fresh faces, he is thinking of out-of-the-box ideas," Singh said.

Hansraj Gangaram Ahir representing Chandrapur Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra and Ram Kripal, MP from Pataliputra in Bihar have also been invited for the breakfast.

The swearing-in of the new ministers will take place at 1.30 PM at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Five months after taking over, Modi is undertaking an expansion and reshuffle of his Cabinet in which Parrikar appears all set to get Defence portfolio which is now held as an additional charge by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

An IIT-M alumnus, Parrikar will be the first Cabinet Minister from Goa and shares a good rapport with the Prime Minister.

The current strength of the Council of Ministers is 45 -- 23 of Cabinet rank, including the Prime Minister, and 22 Ministers of State. Of the 22 MoS, 10 hold Independent Charge.

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