A union cabinet reshuffle appeared imminent with skill development minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy resigning on Thursday night amid speculation that some more ministers may quit ahead of the exercise expected before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for China on Sunday.
The five resignations came after India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah met senior ministers, including Finance and Defense Minister Arun Jaitley, at his residence in the national capital Thursday morning.
Sources said the Cabinet expansion and reshuffle is likely to happen on September 2 in the evening.
Kalraj Mishra, Sanjiv Baliyan, Giriraj Singh, and Radha Mohan Singh are also among the ones who have reportedly resigned.
Rudy's resignation indicates at the beginning of process of cabinet rejig.
A reshuffle will help the Narendra Modi government weed out the dead wood from the government and infuse new blood in the cabinet.
When Jaitley was asked how long he would have dual charge of the finance and defence ministries, he had replied: "At least, I hope, not very long". Incumbent Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu offered to quit last week in the wake of recent back-to-back train derailments that claimed around two dozen lives. Besides Jaitley, three other union ministers are holding additional charges of different ministries.
Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan is holding additional charge of the Environment Ministry following the death of Anil Madhav Dave in May. Kalraj Mishra, who is past the unofficial age ceiling of 75 years to serve in the government, is tipped to be headed for a gubernatorial assignment.
The united AIADMK - comprising of the factions led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and and former CM O Panneerselvam - is also expected to join the NDA.