The Union Council of Ministers will be expanded on Sunday with the possible induction of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Raghunath Jha even as Minister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachouri resigned from the government ahead of the exercise.
Besides Scindia and Jha, both Lok Sabha members, names doing rounds for possible ministerial berths include M S Gill, former Chief Election Commissioner, Supriya Sule, daughter of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, V Hanumantha Rao, a Rajya Sabha member and V Narayanaswamy, Congress Puducherry chief.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi had a meeting on Sunday morning to finalise the names.
Earlier in the day, Pachouri, who was also Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister with his Rajya Sabha term ending on April 2, official sources said. He was recently appointed the Pradesh Congress Chief of Madhya Pradesh, where assembly polls are scheduled later this year.
It is still not clear whether Minister of State in the Planning Ministry M V Rajashekharan, whose Rajya Sabha membership has also ended, will continue in the government.
President Pratibha Patil will administer oath to the new ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan at 7 pm, official sources said.
There has been talk of a reshuffle at the Centre for quite some time now. There may also be a minor reshuffle of portfolios.
Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, who holds ministries of Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs, may have to give up one of the two portfolios in the wake of his appointment as West Bengal Pradesh Congress chief.
The changes in the Cabinet gained momentum after the Prime Minister called on the President on Saturday.
Reports said the Congress leadership has been considering effecting changes at the Centre ahead of assembly polls in some of the key states later this year.