Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Pokhriyal resign ahead of Union cabinet rejig

The expanded Union cabinet is set to be sworn in at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Durbar Hall at 6 pm with only 50 invitations issued for Wednesday event amid Covid protocols.

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Union ministers 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 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Durbar Hall at 6 pm with only 50 invitations issued for Wednesday event amid Covid protocols.

President House sources said the ceremony would be curtailed on account of the pandemic.

Government sources said the new cabinet would have an average age of 58, the lowest in the history of independent India.

There is likely to be the biggest representation for OBCs with sources saying 27 ministers would be from other backward castes, 12 from the SC and eight from the ST.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, MoS WCD Deboshree Chaudhary, and Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Sadanand Gowda resigned ahead of the cabinet expansion

“Among the 27 OBC ministers five are expected to get a cabinet berth, three from among the 12 SC ministers could land the cabinet berth and two from among eight STs could get the cabinet rank,” a source said.

It is learnt that there will in all be 11 women in the council of ministers by the end of the cabinet reshuffle and two would have a cabinet rank.

Government sources said four former chief ministers, 13 lawyers, seven past bureaucrats would be among ministers.

The expansion will see record representation for OBCs.

Among allies to be inducted are LJP (Pashupatinath Paras), JDU (RCP Singh and Lallan Singh), Apna Dal (Anupriya Patel), All Jharkhand Students Union.

“Fourteen ministers will be below 50 years of age, including six cabinet ministers,” said government sources.

There is an expectation of five ministers from the minority communities.

A major takeaway would be enhanced women’s representation in the cabinet with MPs Meenakshi Lekhi, Sunita Duggal (Sirsa), Shobha Karandlaje, Pritam Munde among expected new entrants.

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