Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh cabinet expansion appears to be imminent as President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday evening issued an order giving Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel additional charge of the state in view of Governor Lalji Tandon's deteriorating health condition.
According to sources, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who reached New Delhi on Sunday, called on senior BJP leaders including Narendra Singh Tomar, party president JP Nadda and home minister Amit Shah. Chouhan, however, again met with Shah on Monday morning.
It is believed that Chouhan had, in these meetings, finalised the list of new entrants to his Cabinet. Final nod on the same is expected to be given by the Prime Minister.
With a long list of aspirants in the BJP's state unit, Chief Minister Chouhan has a mammoth task to balance the caste, regional and factional equations in the State.
Former Congress MLAs, who had helped BJP topple the Kamal Nath government, are expected to walk away with the lion’s share of the cabinet berths. Two of them — Tulsiram Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput, are already in the cabinet. Others, including Imarti Devi, Aidal Singh Kansana, Pradyumn Singh Tomar, Mahendra Sisodia, Rajyawardhan Singh Dattigaon and senior MLA Bisahulal Singh are expected to be brought on board.
Other leaders being considered are — Rameshwar Sharma and Vishwas Sarang from Bhopal, Arvind Singh Bhadauria, one of the chief architects of political coup, along with Yashodhara Raje Scindia from Gwalior, Shardendu Tiwari and Ramlallu Vaish from Vindhya region. Usha Thakur and Malini Gaud from Indore, Gopal Bhargav, Bhupendra Singh and Harishankar Khatik from Bundelkhand, Ajay Vishnoi, Sanjay Pathak and Devi Singh Sayyam from Mahakaushal region, Mohan Yadav, Vijay Shah or Chetan Kashyap from Malwa-Nimar region are other names that are being considered.
At present, there are five ministers in Shivraj's cabinet and excluding the chief minister, his government could have at most 33 ministers. Going by this figure, he has 28 places to fill. Sources said that earlier, Shivraj was planning to accommodate 20-22 ministers in his cabinet but given the frequent tussle in the party for ministerial berths, he opted to take in 24-25 new entrants.
The cabinet expansion assumes significance as bypolls for 24 Assembly seats are due in the state. These bypolls will decide on whose favour the power shifts given that the ruling party has a delicate majority in the state Assembly.
The cabinet expansion is expected to take place on June 30.
Source: News Agencies
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