The long awaited cabinet expansion of the ruling BJP government of Madhya Pradesh took place at Raj Bhawan on Wednesday evening, with Governor Rameshwar Thakur swearing in 10 new members. In the first ever cabinet expansion since last year’s assembly elections, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan played it safe by not trusting rookies.
As a result, the expanded cabinet will include 10 veterans with no space for first-time MLAs.
The expanded 33-member cabinet, including Chauhan himself, will include party veterans Narottam Mishra, Ajay Vishnoi, Sartaaj Singh, Vijay Shah, Umashankar Gupta, Mahendra Hardiya, Brajendra Pratap Singh, Manohar Utwaal, Jaisingh Marawi and Nanabhau Mohod. Inducting ten more members still leaves two vacancies in the cabinet.
The names were decided upon after a three-hour party meeting presided by deputy leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha and Vidisha MP Sushma Swaraj, CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, BJP state in-charge Anant Kumar, BJP state president Narendra Singh Tomar and party veterans Maakhan Singh Chauhan, Arvind Menon and Bhagwat Sharan Mathur.
Wednesday’s cabinet expansion has reportedly been planned with due caste and regional considerations.
The Congress party, however, accused the CM of “kneeling down against corruption” by inducting tainted MLAs. Party spokesperson K. K.Mishra has alleged that several members in the new cabinet not only have complaints against them pending in the High Court and the Lokayukta, but were demanded resignations from in the previous cabinet for corruption charges.
He also said that corruption was the reason most of these were not inducted in the government after the BJP returned to power last year.
“It is no secret that people like Narottam Mishra and Ajay Vishnoi were dropped from the previous cabinet due to charges of corruption against them,” said Congress spokesperson Arvind malviya.