New Delhi: The much-talked about reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers appears highly on the cards in a day or two involving about 10 to 12 ministers including new entrants from Trinamool Congress and Congress. The reshuffle is supposedly delayed due to the Kalka Mail express derailment in Uttar Pradesh.

It is also believed that the offer of Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium to resign is also compelling the Congress to delay the reshuffle.

Sources said, after Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have held three meetings and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee meet DMK chief Karunanidhi, the reshuffle was in way complete. But the Kalka Mail express derailment accident delayed the major political episode.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have held three meetings so far on the reshuffle but no official word is out on the issue. Speculation was rife that it could be on Monday but chances appear to be brighter on Tuesday.

However, sources said Trinamool Congress Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandhyopadhyay may finally get a break and could be inducted as Minister of State, possibly in the Finance Ministry in charge of Revenue.

There is also speculation that incumbent Minister of State Finance in charge of Revenue S S Palanimanickam may be upgraded to Cabinet rank in the wake of resignations by his DMK colleagues A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran from the Cabinet.

The talk in Trinamool Congress is that Mamata Banerjee could entrust senior leader Dinesh Trivedi with the Railways portfolio she vacated after becoming the West Bengal Chief Minister.

DMK may opt for the upgrade in view of the fact that it is said to be not in a mood to name new entrants into the government at this juncture when two of its ministers had to resign under a cloud and party chief Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi is in jail.

Karunanidhi, who met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Chennai on Saturday, is understood to have told him that the party will decide on the issue of replacements for Maran and Raja only after its General Council meeting in Coimbatore on July 23 and 24.

Reshuffle plans acquired urgency in the wake of resignation by Maran and Corporate Affairs Minister Murli Deora's offer to quit.

In the reshuffle, the 'big four' comprising Finance, Home, External Affairs and Defence is not expected to witness any change. There could be changes in the middle level – like ministers being given Independent charge in the rank of Ministers of State.

Tribal Affairs Minister Kanti Lal Bhuria, who was recently made Madhya Pradesh PCC President, may be relieved of his ministerial responsibility to take up party work fulltime in the BJP-ruled state.

Providing fodder to the mill, Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde hinted at being more than willing to be a candidate for the Vice Presidential election scheduled next year.

69-year old Shinde, a prominent Dalit face of the party and is a known loyalist of the Gandhi-Nehru family, has completed five years as Power Minister.

In view of the assembly elections in half-a-dozen states including UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand, the Congress leadership will take suitable steps which will help the party in the polls.

There are a number of ministers holding dual charge like Kapil Sibal who has Telecom and HRD. There is also talk of removing non performing ministers.

Demand for Rahul's inclusion

Meanwhile, two Muslim leaders from Madhya Pradesh have appealed to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to include party General Secretary, Rahul Gandhi into the Union Cabinet in the next reshuffle.

The two, state Congress General Secretary, Syed Sajid Ali and Idris Khan, General Secretary of Madhya Pradesh Congress Minorities Department, have sent a letter to Singh in this regard.

They said that apart from Rahul, Maulana Asrarul Haque Qasmi, the lone Congress member of the Lok Sabha from Bihar, Mohsina Kidwai and Oscar Fernandes should also be included in the Union Cabinet.

They expressed confidence that the inclusion of these four would lend strength to the Union Cabinet.

(JPN/ Agencies/ Bureau)