Ouster of veterans casts a shadow on MP cabinet rejig

  • Ranjan, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jul 01, 2016 16:42 IST
New ministers Vishwas Sarang and Sanjay Pathakat at Raj Bhavan in Bhopal on Thursday. (Praveen Bajpai/HT photo)

Selection of most of MLAs inducted as ministers suggests that Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had a free hand in selecting his cabinet members on Thursday. But the plethora of meetings he had to convince BJP leaders, including party chief Amit Shah, about his choices showed him in a poor light.

The cabinet expansion has set the tongues wagging in the BJP camp with the ruling party leaders questioning the CM’s decision to reward turncoats like Sanjay Pathak and Harsh Singh with ministerial berths at the cost of committed leaders such as Ramlal Rautel, Bhanwar Singh Shekhawat and Sudarshan Gupta.

“What is the message the CM wishes to send out to the party’s rank and file? I cannot believe that MLAs Sanjay Pathak, Harsh Singh, Lalita Yadav, Vishwas Sarang and Suryaprakash Meena could be the choice of the central BJP leadership,” said a party worker.

“A mining baron like Sanjay Pathak can become a minister due to his wealth but not a simple party worker who wins elections on the basis of his hard work and commitment to the party. If this is the trend, why should a worker give his life to the party?” asked the upset worker.

The way home minister Babulal Gaur (86) and Sartaj Singh (76) were dropped also didn’t go down well with many a party leader and worker.

“If they (Gaur and Sartaj) were to be removed, why were they made ministers? Their performance was better than several other ministers,” said a BJP leader.

The party leaders say Union minister Najma Heptullah, 76, may be dropped from the Narednra Modi cabinet because of her age but the Centre’s political formula doesn’t work in state as Chouhan’s cabinet was formed much before the union’s.

Political analyst Girijashankar agrees that dropping of ministers from Chouhan cabinet overshadowed the expansion exercise.

“It was done in an ugly manner so much as it robbed the cabinet expansion exercise of its sheen. Also, it didn’t send out a message if caste and regional balance was kept in mind while selecting the MLAs for the cabinet,” he said.

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