Several fresh faces are expected in the new Cabinet of Manmohan Singh with the Congress in a more comfortable position due to its numbers and its dependence on allies reducing sharply.
The prime minister has already extended an invitation to Rahul Gandhi to join his Cabinet in view of the young
leader's contribution to the victory of the party. While it is not clear whether Gandhi will accept the invitation, several other young leaders are expected to find a place in the new council of ministers which party sources suggest will be a "balanced affair".
Several vacancies have already arisen with the defeat of dozen-odd ministers in the outgoing cabinet including Ram
Vilas Paswan, A R Antulay, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Shankersinh Vaghela.
It is unclear whether Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, who is currently the Railway Minister, will find a berth in the Cabinet as a section of the Congress feel that unless Prasad is neglected, the party cannot revive in Bihar.
The Congress has left it to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh to take a decision about joining the Cabinet. Unlike in 2004, Congress being in commanding position, the portfolios to be offered to the allies could also be of less significance.
Party sources said that there was unlikely to be key portfolios being given to non-Congress members of the United Progressive Alliance.