New Delhi: The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday appeared to be on the same page ahead of the reshuffle of the Union Cabinet, saying the sinking ship at the Centre was making cosmetic changes to garner votes in the upcoming assembly polls scheduled next year.
Congress leader Tom Vadakkan dubbed it to be a 'futile exercise' and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should instead shift his focus on the non-performing ministers.
"Reshuffle should be about merits and performance.There are ministries, whose performance is much wanting and the Prime Minister should focus on that instead of trying to showcase and do cosmetic changes to garner votes," he told ANI.
Meanwhile, AAP leader Ashutosh also trained guns at the BJP-led NDA Government and said that nothing would happen by bringing in cosmetic changes as the ruling dispensation has been a complete failure.
"Modi's government is a sinking ship. The BJP is a losing party. How much ever colour, cosmetics they apply or cosmetic surgery they do, their true face is known to the people. They are a big failure; they have been unsuccessful on all issues. Neither in UP nor in any other state are they going to make any difference," Ashutosh told ANI.
The Prime Minister has been holding consultations on the Cabinet reshuffle with senior party colleagues including BJP chief Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
In the reshuffle and expansion of his Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister is likely to keep regional balances especially in view of the upcoming elections in key states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
Sources state that two new faces from Uttar Pradesh are likely to be inducted. Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are set to be promoted courtesy their splendid performances.
Besides, there are a few vacancies in the council which the Prime Minister is expected to fill on Tuesday.
Sarbananda Sonowal, who held the Sports portfolio, took over as the Chief Minister of Assam post the BJP's win in the northeastern state. A new Sports Minister is on the cards.
Another key element of Tuesday's rejig would be the Prime Minister's decision on the below 75 year age criteria for a membership of the council.
As a result of which, the fate of Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Kalraj Mishra will be decided on Tuesday.
Reports suggest that Apna Dal's Anupriya Patel, Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityananth and Etah MP Rajvir Singh are likely to be inducted in the Cabinet.
Prime Minister Modi may also include a member of the alliance partner the Shiv Sena.
The top four portfolios-Home, Finance, External Affairs and Defence-are unlikely to be touched.
The Cabinet reshuffle will take place on Tuesday, before Prime Minister Modi leaves on a four-nation Africa tour beginning July 7.
The Prime Minister, who had reviewed the performance of various ministries indicating a reshuffle earlier on June 30, last expanded his Cabinet in November 2014.
In November 2014, the Council of Ministers was expanded by adding four Cabinet Ministers, three Ministers of State (Independent Charge) and 14 Ministers of State, increasing the total size of the ministry from 45 to 66 ministers.
According to the Constitution, the total number of ministers in the Council of Ministers must not exceed 15 percent of the total number of members of the Lok Sabha i.e. 82....