Madhya Pradesh (MP) chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made a major cabinet expansion on Thursday around three months after unseating the INC’s Kamal Nath government, as 28 ministers were sworn in.
Acting MP Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office and secretary at the Raj Bhavan. Of the 28 new ministers, 20 and eight are of cabinet and ministers of state rank, respectively.
Rajya Sabha member and new entrant to the ruling BJP, Jyotiraditya Scindia’s imprint was evident in the cabinet expansion, as 12 of 22 former lawmakers, who are considered to be his loyalists, found ministerial berths. Earlier in March, 22 lawmakers had rebelled against Kamal Nath and later joined the BJP.
All these 12 ministers will have to be elected to the state assembly in the next six months to retain their position as ministers as per the constitutional provision. Eight of these ministers are from the Gwalior-Chambal region, where 16 assembly by-polls will be held in the coming months.
Sources said, several BJP leaders have been dropped from the list, as the Scindia camp has achieved the lion’s share of the appointments.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as Madhya Pradesh chief minister for the fourth time in March after the Kamal Nath government was reduced to a minority following the rebellion of 22 INC MLAs.
Chouhan returned to Bhopal on Tuesday after staying in Delhi for two days, discussing the cabinet expansion. More than three months have passed since the BJP government was formed in the state. Cabinet expansion has been under discussion for a long time. Only five ministers were sworn in after the chief minister took oath.
The cabinet ministers include Gopal Bhargava, Vijay Shah, Jagdish Devda, Bisahulal Singh, Yashodhra Raje Scindia, Bhupendra Singh, Brijendra Pratap Singh, Vishwas Sarang, Imrati Devi, Dr Prabhuram Chaudhary, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Pradyumn Singh Tomar, Prem Singh Patel, Omprakash Saklecha, Aindal Singh Kansana, Usha Thakur, Arvind Bhadoria, Mohan Yadav, Hardeep Singh Dang, and Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon.
Four of them — Imrati Devi, Dr Prabhuram Chaudhary, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, and Pradyumn Singh Tomar — were ministers in the then Kamal Nath cabinet as well. The Ministers of State include Bharat Singh Kushwaha, Inder Singh Parmar, Ramkhelawan Patel, Ram Kishor Kawre, Brijendra Singh Yadav, Girraj Dandotia, Suresh Dhakad, and OPS Bhadoria. All of them have become ministers for the first time.