A five member cabinet finally took oath on Tuesday in Madhya Pradesh nearly a month after CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as Chief Minister for the fourth time on March 23.
The five inducted ministers include BJP leaders Narottam Mishra, Kamal Patel and Meena Singh while two ministers, Govind Singh Rajput and Tulsi Silawat, have been inducted from the ranks of ex-Congress MLAs, who had switched over to the BJP in mid-March.
The cabinet formation comes after intense lobbying and numerous rounds of discussions between BJP state and central leaders and those between former union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and the central BJP leadership.
Sources said CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan decided to go in for a truncated cabinet owing to pressure from leaders within the party and the Scindia group. A full scale cabinet is likely to be appointed in May after the lockdown is lifted.
Initially, sources said the group of ex-Congress MLAs led by Scindia were opposed to the idea of forming a truncated cabinet and demanded that entire cabinet be sworn in together.
After a round of meetings with central BJP leaders, Scindia made his group agree to a truncated cabinet with the commitment that a full cabinet will be sworn in soon.
By inducting the five, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has attempted to strike a caste and regional balance.
While Mishra represents the Brahmin community, Govind Singh Rajput represents the Thakur community, Tulsi Silawat represents the SC community, Meena Singh the tribal community and Kamal Patel, the OBC community.
Tulsi Silawat was the health minister in the outgoing Kamal Nath government and was criticised for being holed up in a resort in Bengaluru with other MLAs, while he was needed in the state to strategize for taking on the threat from corona virus.
A simple ceremony was held at the Raj Bhawan where Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers. None of the ministers were allowed to bring their supporters. The media was not invited either owing to the lockdown.
Portfolio allocation has not taken place as yet. Sources in the BJP said it could wait till the formation of a full cabinet.
A total of 22 Congress MLAs, led by former union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, had quit the Congress on March 10, paving the way for the fall of the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government in MP.
After resigning, Scindia and the MLAs joined the BJP.
Jyotiraditya Scindia was rewarded with a Rajya Sabha nomination elections, which have not been able to take place as the state went into lockdown.
Sources said Scindia is likely to be inducted as a minister at the Centre and a total of 10 out of the 22 ex-Congress MLAs would be inducted in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan ministry, as part of the deal negotiated during the crossing over.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan had created a record of sorts by being a CM without a cabinet in the country for the longest time ever.
Congress MPs Vivek Tankha and Kapil Sibal had written to the President demanding President’s Rule, given Shivraj Singh Chouhan was not forming a cabinet — something they claimed was necessary under articles 163 and 164A of the Constitution.
The Congress, which had been demanding a cabinet in the state, said that a large number of BJP hopefuls and those among the ranks of Scindia loyalists had been denied place in the cabinet, and that this was a let down for them.
“Only two of the 22 turncoats have been inducted as ministers. Why weren’t the independents, SP, BSP and other turncoat MLAs not inducted as promised? This is the beginning of the treachery that will follow,” said Congress spokesperson Narendra Saluja in a tweet.
Source: msn news