Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has deferred the cabinet expansion at least twice this year and now speculations are rife that he might get it done this December.
The expansion is being keenly awaited as about a dozen berths have remained vacant since the formation of the cabinet in December 2013, sources said.
Talking to Hindustan Times, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said he would carry on the exercise soon which he couldn’t as planned because of the Petlawad blast.
He, however, parried the question whether it would be before the assembly’s winter session — about to begin from December 7, or after it.
But, what has fuelled the speculations about a possible expansion in December is state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan’s recent statement in Betul that the cabinet might get bigger in December.
The talks of cabinet expansion have been going on in the party for about a year now but it could not materialise for some reason or the other.
Chouhan had announced that the expansion would take place in August and that it would be preceded by appointments in the government-run boards and corporations. However, the appointments in boards and corporations were delayed much and the CM during a talk with media persons fixed the date of August 31 for the same. But there could be no expansion on August 31 either and the aspirants kept on waiting for the same.
Notably, it was the first time during his tenure when Chouhan gave any specific date for expansion but he didn’t carry out the exercise even after announcing the date.
Once, speculations were so strong in the party in August that many aspirants chose to stay back in Bhopal cancelling their programmes out of Bhopal.
However, the party leaders said off the record that since civic bodies elections were to take place it was not the right time for the exercise.
The party sources said the party high command understandably wanted the chief minister to defer the exercise till Bihar assembly elections as elections in Bihar were so important for the party that they didn’t want any voice of dissent or discord or any controversy from any state.
After Bihar elections were over, the state government and the party got busy with Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha and Dewas assembly seat by-polls