Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda is likely to expand his five-month-old Cabinet in the near future, knowledgeable sources said here on Thursday.

The expansion has become almost “compulsion'' as not only several Congress veterans, including former Ministers, have to be “adjusted'' but also representation has to be given to at least one of the five Haryana Janhit Congress MLAs who had “merged'' with the Congress, they added.

At present the Hooda Council of Ministers consists of Congressmen and Independents who had lent support after the Assembly polls in October 2009 to give majority to the party in the Vidhan Sabha. Now, with the “merger'' of the five out of six HJC MLAs, the Congress has gained majority in the 90-member House.

According to insiders, there was “pressure'' right from the beginning of Mr. Hooda's second innings to accommodate former Minister of State for Tourism Kiran Choudhary and another former Minister, Savitri Jindal. It is common knowledge in political circles that Ms. Choudhary, daughter-in-law of the late Haryana Chief Minister Bansi Lal, claims proximity to the powers that be in the Congress high command. She has also been closely associated with the “group'' in the party (which includes former Finance Minister Birender Singh) which has been at loggerheads with Mr. Hooda time and again.

Interestingly, she also raised pointed questions relating to the functioning of the Hooda regime in the recent Budget Session of the Assembly.

CM's strategy

Insiders say that Mr. Hooda, who has been keeping the expansion issue on the backburner due to strategic reasons, might play his “master stroke'' once again and surprise everyone in his choice of Cabinet colleagues.

It is also being said that the expansion might take place any moment as soon as the high command gives the green signal.

Meanwhile, lobbying by various groups has intensified to find a berth in the Ministry.