NEW DELHI, Sept 1 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake a reshuffle of his council of ministers at 10 am on Sunday even as speculation is rife over induction of NPP chief Conrad Sangma, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and MP Ramen Deka into the ministry.
It will be the third such exercise to be undertaken by Modi since he took over in May 2014.
Although Himanta Biswa Sarma�s name is doing the rounds, with some TV channels even reporting that he will be made Minister of State for Defence, a senior BJP leader told this newspaper that Sarma is unlikely to be brought over to Delhi from state politics.
Sources said Sarma and Chandra Mohan Patowary are the only ministers in Assam with some experience in governance. Sarma is in charge of at least nine departments, including finance, and health and family welfare. It has been conveyed to the Modi government at the highest level that Sarma should not be disturbed at this stage, sources added.
Furthermore, Sarma�s services as convenor of the NEDA would be needed by the BJP next year when two northeastern states of Tripura and Meghalaya go to polls, sources pointed out.
Meanwhile, Conrad Sangma is tipped to be inducted into the cabinet from the NDA alliance quota. Sangma�s Nationalist People�s Party (NPP) is BJP�s alliance partner in Manipur where its four MLAs are supporting the ruling N Biren Singh government. According to an understanding, Sangma was promised a berth in the Modi government, sources said.
On the other hand, Ramen Deka�s fate hangs in a balance though he enjoys the support of the RSS. So far, he has not received any feelers from the party or PMO. Deka has been lobbying for a ministerial berth since last year when Rajen Gohain was inducted in the Union ministry as a Minister of State for Railway.
Official sources here said that the process has been set in motion for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan around 10 am on Sunday.
Four junior ministers � Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sanjiv Kumar Balyan, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahendra Nath Pandey � have resigned ahead of the rejig. Two cabinet ministers Uma Bharti and Kalraj Mishra have also offered to resign, sources in the party said.
While Mishra, who had met BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday, is well above 75 years � the age bar the party has informally set for ministers, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has reportedly offered to quit on health grounds.