Toss between Shah, Goyal for finance portfolio in Modi 2.0

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New Delhi: BJP chief Amit Shah with Union Minister Piyush Goyal come out of Parliament after no-confidence motion against Modi government was defeated on July 21, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi:  Arun Jaitley’s exit from the race for a cabinet berth due to health issues has made appointment to the finance portfolio one of the most keenly observed events of new Modi government.

While the name the name of Piyush Goyal, the coal and Railway minister in the erstwhile NDA cabinet, is doing the rounds in the North Block, sources said BJP president Amit Shah may also take over the reigns of the finance ministry. Shah is likely to move to an active role in the Modi 2.0, one that he missed out last time due to his important role in the party organisation.

The BJP president is also being considered for cabinet berth in the Defence Ministry, but sources said that finance may be a likely choice as it needs a mass leader who has grassroots insight into how businesses are run.

North Block mandarins, meanwhile, are hopeful for Goyal’s return due to his experience in handling this portfolio twice earlier. He not only presented the last interim Budget and but has also stepped in as FM once earlier in the absence of Jaitley. With the Budget round the corner and an economic slowdown hurting the government and an economic survey due as well, Modi may not go for a brand new face, sources said.

Though there has been no official confirmation on the ministerial appointments as the team for the new government is currently in the process of being worked out, some names have emerged having a clear shot at a cabinet berth.

Along with ministers, a few ministries may also see changes in their composition and structure to strengthen governance. Accordingly, sources said that ministry of communications telecom and the ministry of electronics and information technology may be merged.

It would be handed by an experienced hand, most likely, Ravi Shankar Prasad who in the previous government held the porfolio of minister of law and IT. The former communications minister Manoj Sinha is unlikely to return due to adverse poll results in the recently concluded elections.