Sonia, PM discuss Cabinet expansion

Sonia, PM discuss Cabinet expansion

New Delhi: With the DMK apparently agreeing to join the central government, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss Cabinet expansion and allocation of portfolios.

In the first instalment, only 19 ministers were inducted along with the Prime Minister on Friday and portfolios have been allocated to only six ministers.

The induction was a truncated affair as DMK, a key constituent of the UPA, was unhappy over the number of ministerial berths being offered by the Congress and threatened to support the government from outside.

The DMK reportedly wanted nine ministerial berths — five Cabinet and four minister of state. Congress, however, was not ready to give more than seven — three Cabinet and four minister of state.

The DMK has since apparently agreed to seven berths and indicated its readiness to join the government.

Significantly, ahead of the meeting between Gandhi and Singh, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan met the Prime Minister for about an hour.

Narayanan had met DMK chief M Karunanidhi in Chennai twice during the last two days and it was speculated that he discussed issues related to Cabinet berths.

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