New Delhi: The Union council of ministers is expected to be expanded on Thursday, when representatives from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and other United Progressive Alliance partners would be inducted into the government.
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Gandhi met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a second round of discussions on expanding the council of ministers, which was initially expected on Tuesday. The four-hour meeting, attended by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister A.K. Antony and political secretary to the Gandhi Ahmed Patel, discussed allocation of ministerial berths and portfolios. People close to the development said issues related to allocation of ministerial berths and portfolios have been sorted out with all allies.
There was speculation that Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee wanted eight ministerial berths—one cabinet and seven ministers of state—against the seven—one cabinet and six ministers of state— already allocated to her party.
Induction mode: President Pratibha Patil administers the oath to Manmohan Singh during the swearing-in of the new cabinet. Atul Yadav / PTI
However, people close to the matter said there were no issues with the Trinamool Congress.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel will retain the civil aviation ministry, these people said after the meeting. Even in the Congress, there have been pulls and pressures over the ministerial berths and portfolios, but officials said such matters have been addressed.