Modi likely to head a 44 member Cabinet

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Narendra Modi, who will be sworn is as prime minister this evening, is likely to head a 45-member Union Council of Ministers including 24 with Cabinet rank, informed sources said today.

The sources said that besides the Cabinet Ministers, there are likely to be 10 Ministers of State(MoS) with Independent Charge and 11 MoS.

However, there was no official confirmation either from the Rashtrapati Bhavan or Gujarat Bhavan where Modi has been holding hectic parleys over government formation for the last few days.

The list of ministers without portfolios has been sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

BJP President Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, former BJP chiefs Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj, Ravishankar Prasad and Anant Geete(Shiv Sena) are among the Cabinet Ministers who are likely to take oath at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Sources say others who have received a call for swearing-in are Sadananda Gowda, Uma Bharti, Najma Heptullah, Gopinath Munde, Kalraj Mishra, Maneka Gandhi, Ananth Kumar and Thawarchand Gehlot.

Former Mahila wing chief Smriti Irani who took on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi is also likely to find a berth besides Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan.

NDA allies including LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan and Shiromani Akali Dal's Harsimrat Badal are also likely to find a cabinet berth.

Others who are also likely to be part of Modi's Cabinet are Narendra Singh Tomar, Jual Oram and Radhamohan Singh.

Among those likely to be Ministers of State with Independent Charge are Rao Inderjit Singh, Gen (retd) V K Singh, Santosh Gangwar, Sripad Naik, Dharmendra Pradhan, Sarvanand Sonwal and Jitendra Singh.

Party's treasurer Piyush Goel, spokespersons Prakash Javadekar and Nirmala Sitharaman are among those as MoS with independent charge, say sources.

The MoS are G M Sidheswara, Manoj Sinha, Upendra Kushwaha, P Radhakrishan, Kiran Rijiju, Krishna Pal Gujjar, Sanjay Kumar Balyan, Mansukhbhai Vasava, Rao Saab Danve, Vishnu Dev Sai and Sudarshan Bhagat.

Sources say that Modi will expand his Cabinet a few months later.

The sources said some senior party leaders including Amit Shah, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy did not make it to the list as they have been asked to undertake party work ahead of the Assembly elections in some crucial states like Maharashtra and Haryana later this year.

With Rajnath Singh taking over as a Minister, the post of party chief might be entrusted to someone else soon, it is learnt.

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