Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet reshuffle, both Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and minister of state for health Ashwini Chaube have stepped down from their position today.

Apart from these two senior ministers, including Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, resigned on Wednesday.

According to sources, 12 ministers have resigned from the council so far.

Besides Pokhriyal and Gowda, who were cabinet ministers, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre and Minister of State for Women and Child Development Debasree Chaudhuri have also quit.

Pokhriyal, who tested positive for COVID-19 on April 21, was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here in June again following post-Covid complications. He has resigned from his post citing health reasons, sources said. The former Uttarakhand chief minister took charge as the HRD Minister in May 2019.

Dhotre, who represents the Akola Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra, also took charge as the MoS for Education, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology in May 2019.

Chaudhuri submitted her resignation in the morning, one of her close aides said. She was elected to the Lok Sabha from West Bengal’s Raiganj constituency in the 2019 general elections.

This will be the first reshuffle in the Council of Ministers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he assumed charge for a second term in May 2019.

Ahead of the Union Cabinet expansion on Wednesday evening, ministerial probables met the prime minister at his residence.

Those who met Modi included the BJP’s Narayan Rane, Sarbananda Sonowal, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Bhatt, Bhupender Yadav, Shobha Karandlaje, Sunita Duggal, Meenakshi Lekhi, Bharati Pawar, Shantanu Thakur and Kapil Patil, the JD-U’s RCP Singh, the LJP’s Pashupati Paras and the Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel.