Five ministers in PM Modi's team going through 'nervous nineties' phase
The ministers are going through the “nervous nineties” phase as they near the end of their Rajya Sabha term and amid indications that a Cabinet reshuffle is in the offing.
Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu, his minister of state Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, power minister Piyush Goyal, corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman (all BJP) and science and technology minister of state YS Chowdary (TDP) will complete their Rajya Sabha term by July and will have to get reelected to continue in office.
Naidu, the only cabinet minister retiring by July, is likely to get re-elected from Karnataka. State BJP unit chief BS Yeddyurappa has also reportedly expressed his support for a fresh Rajya Sabha term to Naidu, who retires on June 30. BJP sources said Naidu, 66, had recently asked Modi if he could take a backseat due to health reasons but the Prime Minister suggested that his services are needed and he should continue in the same role for now.
There were rumours in party circles that Naidu may take up the post of governor in a state and take up a higher Constitutional post as and when the vacancy arises. Naqvi is likely to get a fresh term from Uttar Pradesh, the state he represents at present in the Rajya Sabha. Similarly, Piyush Goyal is likely to get reelected from Maharashtra.
Nirmala Sitharaman will have to depend on TDP support in Andhra Pradesh to get a fresh term. Though relations between TDP and BJP are not very cordial due to a tussle over giving special status to Andhra Pradesh since the carving out of Telangana. But as part of the understanding between TDP and BJP, one Rajya Sabha seat from the state would go to the saffron party. Sitharaman was elected under this deal and since the same formula is still in place between the two parties, she should get a full term by June end when her term expires.
YS Chowdary should have smooth sailing into a fresh term unless his party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu has a change of heart, which is unlikely, party sources said. Though BJP sources maintain that the process of choosing Rajya Sabha candidates for the fresh vacancies have not yet begun as the party is busy with the Parliament and the assembly elections in four states, once the top leadership is seized of the matter it may even decide to send some of these ministers from other states.
Other BJP MPs who will retire by July are A Manjunath (Karnataka), VP Singh Bhadnore (Rajasthan), Tarun Vijay (Uttarakhand). Nand Kumar Sai (Chhattisgarh), Anil Dave and Chandan Mitra (both Madhya Pradesh).