Madhya Pradesh CM Shivaraj Singh Chouhan to expand state cabinet on Thursday

Bhopal: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh cabinet will be expanded on Thursday with some of the former Congress MLAs who joined the BJP in March expected to get ministerial berths.

While the names were yet to be announced, BJP sources claimed that about two dozen new ministers will be inducted.

The oath of office will be administered by Governor Anandiben Patel at Raj Bhawan at 11 am, officials said.

Patel, who is Uttar Pradesh governor, has been given additional charge as Madhya Pradesh governor in view of incumbent Lalji Tandon’s hospitalisation. Patel took oath as MP governor earlier in the day.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan confirmed that the cabinet expansion will take place on Thursday.

Asked about the delay in cabinet expansion, Chouhan avoided a direct reply and turned to mythology.

“Only ‘amrit’ (elixir) comes out of ‘manthan’ (churning), vish (poison) is consumed by (Lord) Shiva,” the 61-year-old BJP leader said without elaborating but indicating the difficult task before him.

BJP national vice president Vinay Sahastrabuddhe arrived here on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the expansion, BJP sources said.

A BJP leader said that Sahastrabuddhe, Chouhan and state BJP chief V D Sharma were holding meetings on Wednesday night with party legislators at the CM’s house to give final touches to the list of new ministers.

They were also trying to mollify some senior BJP legislators who would not get a cabinet berth, he said.

Former Union minister and BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia will arrive on Thursday morning to participate in the oath-taking ceremony.

Around two dozen new ministers including some former Congress MLAs (who joined the BJP in March alongwith their leader Scindia) are likely to be inducted into the cabinet, BJP sources said.

The initial “mini” expansion of the Chouhan cabinet took place on April 21 with the induction of five ministers, including two former Congress MLAs close to Scindia — Tulsi Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput.

Chouhan took oath as chief minister for a record fourth term on March 23 this year, after Kamal Nath resigned from the post following rebellion by 22 MLAs of the Congress.

Sources close to Scindia said that besides the remainingfour ministers who had quit the Kamal Nath government, six others from his camp are likely to be inducted into the cabinet.