Shivraj Singh Chouhan meets BJP leaders in Delhi ahead of MP cabinet expansion
The second cabinet expansion comes at the time when the state is getting ready for by-polls in 24 assembly constituencies in the next few months.Updated: Jun 30, 2020 09:58 IST
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is expected to undertake major cabinet expansion in the next few days, after meeting senior leaders of the BJP, including Union home minister Amit Shah and Jyotiradtiya Scindia, in New Delhi.
The second cabinet expansion comes at the time when the state is getting ready for by-polls in 24 assembly constituencies in the next few months. In the first expansion on April 21, he had inducted five ministers even though he can have 35 ministerial council, including himself.
“The cabinet expansion would take place soon,” Chouhan had said on Wednesday.
A senior BJP leader said Chouhan, state BJP president VD Sharma and general secretary (organisation) Suhas Bhagat left for Delhi on Sunday to discuss cabinet expansion.
On Monday, talks took place between Chouhan and the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including president JP Nadda and Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, he added.
“Chouhan is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening, ahead of the cabinet expansion in the state,” the leader cited above said.
In the first expansion, two of the 22 ex-MLAs, loyalists of Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia, who had resigned from the state assembly in March as Congress MLAs and then joined the BJP—Tulsi Silavat and Govind Singh Rajput—were inducted in the cabinet.
Former Congress ministers among these 22 rebels not accommodated in the cabinet include Pradyumn Singh Tomar, Mahendra Sisodia, Prabhuram Chaudhary and Imarti Devi.
BJP leaders said there was a possibility that Chouhan may include at least 11 of the 22 rebel Congress leaders, who had joined the BJP.
“But there are concerns that accommodating 11 rebel Congress leaders may upset senior BJP legislators, who are eying a cabinet position, and many not go down well with party workers. The party leadership is now trying to work out an amicable solution,” another senior party functionary, who was not willing to be named, said.
According to him, Chouhan has conveyed the concerns of the party colleagues in the state, who are upset over being overlooked for a cabinet position, to the central BJP leadership.
There are over a dozen BJP legislators, who have been ministers in earlier councils headed by Chouhan and many of them are considered close to him and very senior in the party hierarchy.
“The MP unit of the party has decided that MLAs who could not be included in the cabinet would be accommodated as administrators of the cooperative bodies, government-run boards and corporations to avoid any rumblings within the party,” the BJP functionary said.
He, however, said these senior legislators have yet not been informed about this decision and therefore, their reaction is not known.
Bhupendra Gupta, the spokesperson of the Congress’ state unit, said it was “all being done to misuse government machinery for the by-polls”.
“Otherwise, there is no logic behind the second expansion amid the Covid situation particularly when the state government is doing nothing except transfers and postings of government officials for reasons known to all,” Gupta said.
State BJP leader Dr Hitesh Bajpai said it was a routine matter.
“Cabinet expansion is a routine exercise in the government and prerogative of the chief minister. Whenever CM thinks he is need of a bigger cabinet he will and can do it,” Bajpai said.