New Delhi, Oct. 26 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Friday accepted the resignation of Union External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, hours after the latter had forwarded his resignation in anticipation of Sunday's proposed reshuffle of the Union Cabinet.
"I want youngsters to be given a chance...I am a loyal party worker and I work for the party without any conditions," said Krishna in his resignation letter.
He is now likely to be given an important position in the Karnataka unit of the Congress party.
Meanwhile, sources have said that Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik have also offered to step down and do party work.
These developments came as the Prime Minister met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for a one-on-one meeting that reportedly discussed the Cabinet reshuffle.
Krishna said that he wanted to give a free hand to Prime Minister Singh during the reshuffle.
The timing of his resignation, however, has raised eyebrows within the government, as Spanish king Juan Carlos I is in India on an official visit.
In recent times, Krishna has been dogged by several controversies, including a Lokayukta report against him and his decision to go to England to watch tennis matches at Wimbledon.
His resignation comes a day after a special Lokayukta court ordered its police to probe the involvement former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Devegowda in the alleged Mysore-Bangalore Express Highway scam.
Certain irregularities have been reported to have taken place in the acquisition of farmers' land for the project that was being developed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises Limited (NICE). A private complaint was filed by social activist TJ Abraham specifying the role of each of the persons named in the case.
The suspense over Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi joining the government remains. Sources say Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot are among those likely to be elevated. The reshuffle could also involve some ministers caught in controversies like coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.
Tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai may also be dropped, say sources.
The NCP has already said it will replace its minister Agatha Sangma. She is likely to be replaced with senior leader Tariq Anwar. Law Minister Salman Khurshid could lose Minorities Affair Ministry. Sports Minister Ajay Maken and Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan could also be elevated to cabinet ranks.
Following are the possibilities:
Union Ministers of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora are likely to get higher posts in the Cabinet.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar is likely to be inducted in the Cabinet.
Jyotiraditya Scindia among other young ministers is likely to be elevated.
Manish Tiwari, Deepa Dasmunshi, Chiranjeevi likely among new faces.
Subodhkant Sahai, Beni Prasad Verma and SM Krishna may be among the ministers dropped.
Beni Prasad Verma, Sriprakash Jaiswal and Ambika Soni may also be dropped.
Ministers holding dual charge like Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Veerappa Moily likely to be stripped off one portfolio.
Rehman Khan likely to get Minority Affairs Ministry.
No suggestion yet on Rahul Gandhi joining the Cabinet. (ANI with inputs)