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Will CM have free hand to reshuffle ministry?

THE BHARATIYA Janata Party circles are agog with speculations about the Cabinet reshuffle in the near future, as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has cemented his position by winning Budhni by-election comprehensively.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 15:36 IST

THE BHARATIYA Janata Party circles are agog with speculations about the Cabinet reshuffle in the near future, as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has cemented his position by winning Budhni by-election comprehensively.

The party sources said that while the CM would like to oblige certain MLAs with ministerial berths for their unflinching support to him during his tenure so far, the wings of certain ministers might be clipped.

However, given the present circumstances in the party and Uma Bharti breathing down the party’s neck, it was hardly unlikely that the CM would have free hand to effect changes in the Cabinet and accommodate new faces in Cabinet at will, they added.

They said what alarmed the Chouhan camp during the Budhni by-election was information filtering in that it was not only the Congress leaders but certain of his colleagues who wished to see that by-poll was postponed beyond May 28.
If the by-poll was not possible by May 28, Chouhan would have had to step down from his post. For, he would have completed six months in chair without being a member of the State Assembly.

Those who are eyeing berths in the Cabinet include Kailash Chawla, Archana Chitnis, Umashankar Gupta, Rajendra Shukla, Dhal Singh Bisen, Karan Singh Verma and Akhand Pratap Singh. Except the Akhand Pratap, who happens to be archrival of Uma Bharti, all other MLAs have been ministers.

Girish Gautam from Rewa, who had defeated the Congress’s veteran leader Sriniwas Tiwari, or Rajendra Shukla might be considered for the Cabinet berth if Ramakant Tiwari is dropped as a minister on the basis of his ‘poor’ performance.

Akhand Pratap Singh camped for over a fortnight in Budhni assembly constituency and canvassed for Chouhan. Assembly Speaker Ishwardas Rohani is also willing to occupy ministerial berth.

If Rohani is accommodated, Kailash Chawla may be considered for the post of Speaker. There are four seats vacant in the Cabinet and a hot contest is likely to take place among the hordes of MLAs to get accommodated in the Cabinet.

If the party is to consider some names from Uma Bharti camp in a bid to weaken her position, it may consider for Cabinet berth the Uma loyalist like Dhal Singh Bisen. Kamal Patel and Himmat Kothari are not feeling comfortable with their departments; hence they would like to head some other departments.

First Published: May 12, 2006 15:36 IST