New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief JP Nadda last week, speculations about a possible expansion of the union cabinet ahead of the Parliament's monsoon session are on the rife.

Though an official confirmation is awaited, BJP sources, quoted by news agency ANI, have hinted that few prominent leaders might get inducted into the Modi cabinet soon. Interestingly, PM Modi has not expanded his cabinet ever since the BJP returned to power in 2019.

The Prime Minister can have a maximum of 79 ministers. However, several of his leaders hold more than one ministry due to the exit of Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal and the demise of Jan Lokshakti Party's Ramvilas Paswan.

ANI sources have hinted that Jyotiraditya Scindia, who left the Congress and joined the BJP in March last year, can be inducted into the union cabinet. Speculations are also being made that former Chief Ministers Sarbananda Sonowal and Trivendra Singh Rawat and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi can get a place.

It is expected that Janta Dal-United and Apna Dal -- two members of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) -- can also get a place in the union cabinet. Several key BJP leaders from Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh can also be accommodated in the expansion.

BJP leaders, who did not want to be named, have said that the cabinet was immediately expanded after the first Modi government took over in May 2014. However, there has been no reshuffle this time because of the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent lockdown that was imposed to check the spread of the infection.

"It was postponed as a reshuffle at the peak of the second wave of the Covid pandemic could have sent a wrong message among the people. Now that the Covid cases are coming down and the situation is under control, we hope that the cabinet expansion will take place soon. But the date and time will be only decided by the Prime Minister," news agency IANS quoted the BJP leaders as saying.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma