Speculations on likely cabinet expansion heightened as MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan left for Madhai in the neighbouring Hoshangabad district late on Monday night.
Announcement on cabinet expansion was expected by August end as the CM had himself set the deadline before a section of media about a week ago.
According to sources, the chief minister's tour was unplanned and sudden. He was also not accompanied by his wife Sadhna Singh on the tour and only escorted by security officials. However, unconfirmed sources have told HT that some senior officers have met Chouhan at Madhai.
He is expected to return to the state capital on Wednesday morning.
As normally the state cabinet meeting is held on Tuesdays, the CM's decision to take the day off has floated several theories, including the one that the CM is giving a final shape to the cabinet expansion plan without any immediate external influence.
Besides cabinet expansion, appointments to the boards and commissions in the state have been on the cards for a long time now. It was expected that the exercise ould be completed in August.
While some appointments on selected commissions and other agencies were made a few days ago, the appointments on several commissions, including the MP women's commission, state commission for protection of children's rights, are yet to be done.
'Multiple pressure' on CM delaying cabinet expansion
Meanwhile, sources said that the decision on the cabinet expansion has been delayed mainly because of the multiple political pressures on the chief minister. It is also being said that the chief minister is not being allowed to have a free hand on the matter.
Recently, the CM had consultations with Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the BJP MP affairs' in-charge.
The 15% cap allows 34 ministers to be inducted into the 230 member MP assembly. Thus, the state cabinet has 12 berths open as only 23 ministers were inducted in December 2013 when Chouhan started his third stint as CM.