Congress says MP CM Shivraj Chouhan violated constitutional norms in cabinet expansion, will move court
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha claims MP CM has inducted more ministers in his cabinet than he is allowed to as per constitutional norms. BJP has rubbished the chargeUpdated: Jul 03, 2020 22:32 IST
A day after Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expanded his cabinet, the Congress accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of violating the constitutional norm of capping the number of ministers under 15% of the state assembly strength and threatened to move the court.
The Opposition party has also questioned Chouhan’s decision to induct Jagdish Devda as a minister in his cabinet even though it was not clear if he had resigned from the position of pro-tem speaker in the state assembly.
In the second and major expansion of Chouhan’s cabinet that took place on Thursday, more than three months after he assumed office and two months after the first expansion, as many as 28 new ministers were sworn in to fill all the ministerial berths in the cabinet except one.
In the 230-member state assembly, the number of ministers should not exceed 35. However, since the assembly strength has been reduced to 206 due to 24 vacant seats, the Congress claims the ministers’ number should be based on the existing strength and not the total number of assembly seats. Thus, they claim that the number of ministers shouldn’t exceed 31.
Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member, Vivek Tankha said, “Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has violated the law once again. He ran the government without any minister for a month. When I complained to the President of India, he inducted five ministers whereas this number should have been 12. Now, he has inducted 28 ministers and the total number of ministers exceeds 15% of 206 lawmakers in the state assembly. Congress will move the court against this illegal cabinet.”
MP Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said, “Pro tem speaker of the state assembly is a constitutional post. A man can’t hold two constitutional posts simultaneously. There is no notification from the governor about his resignation, if it was tendered from the pro tem speaker’s post.”
Reacting to the charges, home and health minister Narottam Mishra said, “There is no illegality in the cabinet expansion. It’s completely legal and I am saying this based on a study. However, if someone wants to challenge the same in the court, he is free to do it.”
Meanwhile, according to some BJP leaders, several followers of a few BJP lawmakers, who couldn’t get ministerial berths, protested in their respective districts and a section of them even reached the state BJP office on Friday to lodge a protest. The reports of protests came from at least 7 districts including Indore, Mandsaur, Dewas, Sagar, Jabalpur etc.
Supporters of BJP MLA from Sagar, Shailendra Jain, observed a ‘Jal Satyagrah in Sagar by standing in knee-deep water. They raised slogans and demanded induction of their leader in the cabinet.
On Thursday, while followers of senior BJP lawmaker Ramesh Mendola staged a protest in Indore, one of his followers doused himself in kerosene in an attempt to self-immolate.