Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has been added to a number of key cabinet committees after a list put out in the morning named him in only two panels, fueling speculation.
Rajnath Singh's office has denied reports that the changes were made after the veteran BJP leader threatened to quit. Mr Singh will now be in six of the eight cabinet committees announced after Prime Minister Narendra Modi started a second term, including the one on political affairs.
In what was seen as a sign of Home Minister Amit Shah's status as de-facto Number 2 in the government, the BJP chief was named in all eight committees. PM Modi is in six of them. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is in seven panels and Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal in five.
Rajnath Singh, who was moved from the Home Ministry that he headed in the previous term, was first included just in the Cabinet Committees on Economic Affairs and Security. He has now been added to the panels on parliamentary affairs; political affairs; investment and growth; and employment and skill development as well.
Rajnath Singh's exclusion had raised eyebrows because the minister who is number two in the government - by convention the person who is sworn in right after the prime minister - usually presides over the cabinet and the political affairs committee in the absence of the Prime Minister. Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister was part of the previous government's political affairs committee.
With the revision, Rajnath Singh has been named in six committees above Amit Shah - except the panels on appointments and accommodation. The Cabinet Appointments Committee has only PM Modi and Amit Shah.
PM Modi will also head the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which includes, apart from Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, DV Sadananda Gowda, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Dharmendra Pradhan.
The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs includes the PM, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Pralhad Joshi.
One of the most important panels, the Cabinet Committee on Security, includes the Prime Minister, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar.
The Prime Minister is also a part of the new Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth, whose members are Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal. The group will examine how to arrest the growth slide.
Another new panel, the Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development, which will look into tackling the jobs crisis, has PM Modi, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Tomar, Piyush Goyal, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Santosh Gangwar, and Hardeep Singh Puri.
Union Minister Smriti Irani is among the special invitees to this panel.