After more than two years of exile, Anoop Mishra is most likely to be re-inducted into Shivraj Singh Chouhan's cabinet on Friday. The cabinet expansion would take place after a gap of about three years, the last one being in October 2009.
The new minister(s) would be sworn in oath of secrecy of office at Raj Bhavan at 5 pm as announced by Chouhan who met the governor Ram Naresh Yadav in the morning. A major reshuffle in the cabinet is unlikely as CM said none of the ministers would be dropped.
Besides Anoop Mishra, the minister of state for power and mineral resources Rajendra Shukla is likely to be elevated to cabinet rank.
At present there are 20 cabinet-rank ministers including the CM and 12 ministers of state leaving three seats vacant in the cabinet.
The talk of cabinet expansion, however, caused a flutter in the ruling party with many aspirants lobbying for their induction.
Nephew of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Anoop Mishra had to step down from the cabinet in July 2010 following charges against his son and brothers in connection with a murder case. They were later absolved of the charges but Anoop Mishra was kept on waiting for the cabinet berth so far. What kept him waiting, however, for the cabinet berth was not the charges against his relations but Chouhan and several other leaders' annoyance with him given his style of functioning.
The later years saw a mollified Anoop Mishra with a vastly changed behaviour and following Chouhan on many occasions unlike earlier.
The state BJP wants Chouhan to fill up all three vacant seats in the cabinet. However, Chouhan's style of functioning regarding the cabinet expansion so far has been keeping a couple of berths vacant to keep a check on dissension within the party. Hence, it's unlikely that he is going to fill all the three seats. Further, filling all the three seats is fraught with the danger of dissension among the BJP MLAs given a number of MLAs including ex-ministers trying to make it to the cabinet anyhow. The long list of aspirants include Kamal Patel, Gyan Singh, Meena Singh, Kedarnath Shukla, Harendrajeet Singh Babbu, Vishwas Sarang, Arvind Bhadoria, Moti Kashyap, Neeta Pateria, Premnarayan Thakur, Girijashankar Sharma, Ramesh Saxena, Deepak Joshi, Antar Singh Arya and several others.
The question doing the rounds in the party circles is which portfolio would be allotted to Anoop Mishra after his likely induction. He is unlikely to get back health, the portfolio he held it earlier.
According to the party sources, urban administration minister Babulal Gaur and home minister Umashankar Gupta left for Delhi tonight leading to speculations in the party if their visit to Delhi is strictly official one or it has something to do with cabinet reshuffle and portfolios distribution.
Total berths: 35
Cabinet ministers: 20
Ministers of state: 12
Vacant seats: 3