Suspense over the possible composition of the National Democratic Alliance cabinet is nearly over.
Rediff.com has learnt that the allocation of top portfolios in the Narendra Modi cabinet is as follows:
* Arun Jaitley - Finance
* Rajnath Singh - Home
* Sushma Swaraj - External Affairs
* Ravi Shankar Prasad - Information and Broadcasting
* Nripendra Mishra - Principal Secretary in Prime Minister's Office
Coverage: PM NaMo
A day ahead of Modi being sworn in as India's 15th prime minister, it was stated on his behalf that one Cabinet minister would head a cluster of ministries working in complementary sectors so as to ensure convergence in the activities of various ministries.
Top layers of the government would eventually be downsized and there would be expansion at the grassroots level, according to a statement issued by the prime minister-designate's secretariat from Gujarat Bhawan, where Modi has been ensconced for the last four days holding consultations on his government formation.
In forming his Cabinet, Modi has adopted the principle of "minimum government and maximum governance" and also "rationalisation with a commitment to bring a change in the work culture and style of governnance," it said. The statement came at the end of another day of guessing game about the names of ministers to figure in the Modi Cabinet that will be sworn in at 6 pm on Monday. Anant Geete of the Shiv Sena would also have a Cabinet portfolio.
Other names making the rounds for the cabinet include Ananth Kumar, Uma Bharti, Harsh Vardhan and Piyush Goel.
Sources said that the number of ministers would be between 30 and 35 which would be much smaller than usual. However, an expansion of the ministry may take place later. There was no clarity on the role of L K Advani with some reports suggesting that he may not be made Lok Sabha Speaker, which he is said to favour, but he may continue as National Democratic Alliance chairman.
In that case, Sumitra Mahajan, a senior BJP Parliamentarian and former minister, may become the Speaker. Deputy Speaker in the outgoing Lok Sabha Karia Munda's name is also being speculated for this post.
NDA ally Telugu Desam Party has recommended the name of party Member of Parliament Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who won from Vizianagaram Lok Sabha constituency, to be inducted into the Union Cabinet
Sources said Shiromani Akali Dal, an old ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, may find a place in the Union Cabinet and the Shiromani Akali Dal leadership is learnt to have suggested the names of Harsimrat Badal and Naresh Gujral. Once party president Rajnath Singh joins the Cabinet, his replacement would be worked out along with restructuring of the party and the name of J P Nadda is learnt to have been cleared by the party leadership and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to replace Rajnath.
The statement on behalf of Modi said he is aware of the "high expectations" of the people. For whole of four days, he was busy with the formation of the ministry and discussing various alternatives to effective governance, convergence and coordination between various ministries, it said.
With inputs from agencies