This is a cabinet expansion that chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan would have liked to avoid in normal circumstances. However, under tremendous pressure from the party to defuse the Vyapam scam bomb anyhow, which has brought even parliament proceedings to a halt, the CM now wants to have such hands in the cabinet who could speed up the government’s work and stand by him in this hour of crisis.
The announcement of cabinet expansion comes after the CM’s meeting with party leaders in Delhi, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah.
A senior BJP leader told HT that one of the topmost party leaders had told Chouhan during his visit to Delhi that “his journey ahead was not a smooth one” and that there was “hardly anybody in the party and cabinet who stood by him in the present circumstances.”
According to the party leader, more than regional or caste balance, what haunted the CM at this juncture was how to select such faces for his cabinet who were able to lessen the burden on him in dealing with the political situations, manage the media effectively and improve his image.
“Except revenue minister Rampal Singh and transport minister Bhupendra Singh, there is hardly any minister, the CM can bank upon as his confidant in the entire cabinet…He needs some good…lieutenants who don’t remain neutral spectators in this hour of crisis, but attack the Opposition efficiently with logic and tackle the media convincingly with facts and figures,” said another senior BJP leader, not wishing to be named.
Political analyst Girija Shanker, however, doesn’t believe that there is any pressure of the Vyapam scam on the CM. However, he admits that CM needs some people in his cabinet by his side.
“(The) CM needs some persons in the cabinet who are seen standing by him whenever he faces charges and attack and whose style of functioning matches his. At the same time these ministers must carry forward speedily his schemes and programmes. That’s why the CM would hardly look into the norms like junior, senior, caste, region, lobby etc during the cabinet expansion,” he said.
Talking to HT, another BJP leader said, since the CM would not have a free hand this time it would be a collective exercise of the party to induct the new faces into the cabinet.