Madhya Pradesh is likely to finally get its council of ministers on Tuesday, more than a month after the Kamal Nath government collapsed in the state and after BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan took oath alone as the chief minister on March 23.
BJP sources told THE WEEK that the council of ministers—with limited members—is likely to be in place by afternoon of Tuesday. Six to eight ministers are likely to be inducted in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet and at least two among them may be loyalists of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who joined the BJP ahead of collapse of the Congress government in the state.
The Scindia loyalists most likely to be inducted are ex-health minister of Kamal Nath cabinet Tulsiram Silawat and ex-revenue minister Govind Rajput, sources said.
Among the BJP leaders who are likely to become part of this small cabinet are ex-legislative affairs minister Narottam Mishra, ex-home minister Bhupendra Singh, ex-leader of opposition Gopal Bhargava, ex-energy minister Rajendra Shukla and Meena Singh, a tribal MLA from Umariya district.
Speculations had been rife about the formation of the council of ministers since the meeting of Scindia with Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda last week. However, the insistence of Scindia that at least all six ministers in the Kamal Nath cabinet—who were in the group of Congress MLAs who resigned—should be inducted in one go kept the cabinet formation stalled, sources said. Even now, the formula of accommodating only two of these former ministers seems to be in place.
The BJP government was formed in Madhya Pradesh following political mayhem that saw ex-Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia switch camps from Congress to BJP and 21 of his loyalist MLAs including six ministers and three other MLAs of Congress resigning. Directed to undergo a floor test to prove his majority, Kamal Nath resigned as chief minister on March 20, bringing to an end the tenure of the 15-month-old Congress government.
Chouhan took oath as chief minister for the fourth time, just hours before the national lockdown, due to COVID-19 situation, was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. No ministers took oath and for the past one month, Chouhan has been running the show in a critical situation where COVID-19 has spread in almost half of the 52 districts of the state. The situation in commercial capital Indore and state capital Bhopal is particularly bad.
As the situation in Indore worsened during the past two weeks, the absence of a council of ministers in the state has been pointed out repeatedly by the opposition Congress as well as political watchers. Especially the non-availability of a health minister, a home minister and an urban development minister during such critical situation has been subject to a lot of criticism.
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