Madhya Pradesh: 28 members, including Jyotiraditya Scindia's loyalists, join Cabinet
Nearly, three months after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed to power in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expanded his Cabinet on Thursday by inducting 28 new ministers.
12 politicians, seen close to BJP's newest high-profile entrant Jyotiraditya Scindia, were given a place.
With this, Scindia, who ditched Congress in March, has left his mark on the Cabinet.
Here are more details.
Chouhan returned as CM for fourth time with Scindia's help
After winning Assembly elections in 2018, Congress crowned its veteran, Kamal Nath, as the CM, snubbing Scindia. In March, the "royal" quit Congress, and following him 22 Congress legislators tendered their resignations as well.
Scindia joined BJP and consequently, Chouhan, a three-time CM, took oath for the fourth time.
In the 230-member Assembly, BJP now has 107 members and Congress 92.
Chouhan was the sole Cabinet member for weeks
Nearly a month after Chouhan took the oath, he expanded his Cabinet, somewhat. The delay was attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, but political watchers said a tussle between Chouhan and Scindia over allocation postponed the expansion.
Even in the last few weeks, BJP's top brass in Delhi and state's leadership held meetings to decide who must be given a place in the Cabinet.
Chouhan had to reportedly give in to Scindia's demands
Reports said Chouhan had to give in to Scindia's demands on new ministers.
On Wednesday, when asked on Cabinet expansion and the delay, he said, "Manthan se toh amrit hi nikalta hai, vish toh Shiv pee jaatein hain (nectar is produced only when there is churning, and Lord Shiv must drink the poison)."
His Cabinet now has 34 ministers, leaving little room for expansion.
BJP's old member and Scindia's aunt became a minister today
Acting Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of Gopal Bhargava, Vijay Shah, Jagdish Devda, Bisahulal Singh, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Bhupendra Singh, Brijendra Pratap Singh, Vishwas Sarang, Imarti Devi, Dr. Prabhuram Chaudhary, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Pradyumn Singh Tomar, Prem Singh Patel, Omprakash Saklecha, Aindal Singh Kansana, Usha Thakur, Arvind Bhadoria, Mohan Yadav, Hardeep Singh Dang, and Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon, as ministers.
Notably, BJP's Yashodhara Raje is Scindia's aunt.
Eight ministers of state were inducted in the Cabinet
Separately, the ones who became ministers of state are Bharat Singh Kushwaha, Inder Singh Parmar, Ramkhelawan Patel, Ram Kishor Kanware, Brijendra Singh Yadav, Girraj Dandotia, Suresh Dhakad, and OPS Bhadoria.
It seems that the upcoming by-elections for 24 seats were considered while expanding the Cabinet.
Most of the seats fall in Scindia's citadel, the Gwalior-Chambal region.
On Twitter, Chouhan welcomed new colleagues; Nath took a swipe
Congratulating the new ministers, Chouhan tweeted, "We all will work together to achieve our common goals of development and public welfare in Madhya Pradesh."
Meanwhile, his predecessor Kamal Nath looked at this as an opportunity to take a swipe at him.
"I feel very sad at not finding many able, dedicated, and senior BJP MLAs in today's Cabinet expansion," the Congress leader wrote.