Madhya Pradesh Cabinet expansion: Uphill task for CM Shivraj as promise to Jyotiraditya Scindia, internal tussle stall decision

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Updated: Jun 30, 2020 10:04 AM

Madhya Pradesh Cabinet Expansion: Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet expansion is likely to be delayed further.

MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, in Delhi Monday. Scindia handed over a cheque to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the state’s Covid fight. (ANI)

The expansion of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet is likely to be delayed further with several factors contributing to the BJP top brass stalling a final decision on the list of ministers to be inducted. According to a report in The Indian Express, meeting the promise of nine ministerial berths to the supporters of party’s Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia appears to be a tough one for Shivraj already in the midst of an internal tussle with the party organisation.

Shivraj arrived in Delhi on Sunday and held talks with BJP national president JP Nadda and later met Home Minister Amit Shah. It was believed that Shivraj met the top leaders with a list of probables to be inducted into the Cabinet. However, it is believed that Shivraj has been unable to get any of his loyalists accommodated in the Cabinet. He is insisting that the party leadership allow some of them be inducted at the earliest. The organisation leadership is believed to be miffed with Shivraj over a host of issues, the latest being his failure to get all MLAs to vote for BJP’s official candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections.

The BJP leadership is not budging, the IE report said quoting sources.

Shivraj was likely to leave for Bhopal on Monday itself. But his return trip was delayed. The Madhya Pradesh CM on Monday also held talks with general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh and later met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The IE report said Scindia wants 11 ministerial berths for his loyalists. Two of his loyalists have already taken oath and Scindia wants the deputy CM’s chair for one of them, sources told IE.

Scindia had joined the BJP along with 22 Congress MLAs in March, triggering the collapse of the Congress government headed by Kamal Nath.

It was believed that if all issues are sorted out, the Cabinet expansion will take place on Tuesday. But there is a thin possibility of the exercise taking place today.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel who holds additional charge of Madhya Pradesh, is likely to reach Bhopal today. Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon is unwell and undergoing treatment at a Lucknow hospital.

Fulfilling the demand of Scindia appears to be a tough job for Shivraj. Giving 11 berths to his loyalists will leave very little room for the party to accommodate others including senior leaders.

Going by the arithmetic, Madhya Pradesh can have 35 ministers including the Chief Minister. Shivraj currently has six members. Even if the Cabinet expansion takes place, Shivraj is likely to keep a few slots vacant. He is expected to have 25 more members in his Cabinet.

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