Former health and higher education minister Anoop Mishra made a comeback to the state cabinet on Friday while ministers of state Rajendra Shukla, Ranjana Baghel and Paras Jain were promoted to cabinet rank. They were sworn in a simple function at Raj Bhavan on Friday.
Governor Ram Naresh Yadav administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers in presence of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, many of his ministerial colleagues, several BJP leaders including former chief minister Sunderlal Patwa, state BJP president Prabhat Jha, chief secretary R Parashuram and several other bureaucrats.
Mishra who stepped down from Chouhan cabinet following accusations against his relatives in connection with a murder two years back, had to have a long wait before his re-induction despite their relatives being acquitted in the case. His comeback was preceded by a lot of lobbyism in the party and much pressure on CM from Delhi. BJP general secretary Narendra Singh Tomar played a key role in his re-induction.
The ministers of state Rajendra Shukla, Ranjana Baghel and Paras Jain were promoted as cabinet ministers. They already had independent charge of their respective portfolios. Hence, their promotion to the rank of cabinet rank will not result in any major change in their work but it would certainly give a boost to their morale. These were only three ministers with independent charge in Chouhan cabinet.
Rajendra Shukla is having the departments of energy and mineral resources, both sensitive and important from assembly elections point of view. Mining is under spotlight because of scams. However, Shukla has one of the most important assignments in his hand-feeder separation in the entire state. Much depends on feeder separation for supplying round-the-clock power supply to people in rural areas as has been promised by the CM.
Paras Jain scored brownie point in wheat purchase in the state, while Ranjana Baghel whose department woman and child development is much known for dalia scams than nutrition provided to the children got the benefit of being a tribal woman. Tribal votes are major concern for the ruling party.
No further expansion
After Anoop Mishra's induction there are still two berths vacant in the cabinet. Talking to the journalists, CM ruled out further expansion of the cabinet.
On Mishra's induction, he said he had resigned on moral grounds. After he was absolved of the charges, he was re-inducted into the cabinet.
He replied in negative when asked if there was some pressure on him to re-induct Mishra into the cabinet.
Medical education to Mishra
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan allotted medical education portfolio to Anoop Mishra. So far, minister of state Mahendra Hardia was looking after Medical Education. There was no other change in the portfolio. According to sources, some ministers of state may be given independent charge in the coming days.
After induction of Anoop Mishra the state cabinet is same which was in place two years back. Now, Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet has 12 ministers coming from general category, nine OBCs including Chouhan, 8 SC/ST and four from minority communities (Three Jains and one sikh).