Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on Thursday administered the oath of office to 28 Ministers, including nine supporters of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who switched over to the BJP from the Congress , to join the Council of Ministers of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government .
More than three months after the fall of the Congress government, the 20 Cabinet and eight Ministers of State were appointed at the Raj Bhavan here. Five Cabinet Ministers were appointed on April 21, after Mr. Chouhan ran a single-man Cabinet for nearly a month. The strength of the Council of Ministers now stands at 34, including Mr. Chouhan.
Of the nine newly-appointed Ministers - former Congress MLAs who support Rajya Sabha member Mr. Scindia - Mahendra Singh Sisodiya, Prabhuram Choudhary, Pradhuman Singh Tomar and Imarti Devi were Ministers in the Kamal Nath government as well. Similarly, Mr. Scindia’s supporters, Govind Singh Rajput and Tulsiram Silawat, appointed Ministers earlier, held portfolios in the Congress regime.
Former Congress leaders Hardeep Singh Dang, Bisahulal Singh and Aidal Singh Kansana, who rode on the string of resignations and defections among Mr. Scindia loyalists that later unseated the Congress government in March, were administered oath as Cabinet Ministers.
March political turmoil
Amid the political turmoil in March, 22 Congress MLAs, including 19 supporters of Mr. Scindia, resigned precipitating the fall of the Nath government and paving the way for Mr. Chouhan’s return to power after 15 months. Of them, 14 are now Ministers, including 10 Cabinet Ministers, who will have to win byelection.
Among Mr. Scindia’s supporters, seven Ministers had won on Congress ticket in the 2018 Vidhan Sabha election from the Gwalior-Chambal region, the stronghold of the Scindia family, where 16 seats lie vacant.
As for BJP legislators, seven MLAs who were Ministers in the previous Chouhan regime, such as former Leader of the Opposition Gopal Bhargava, Vishvas Sarang and Yashodhara Raje Scindia, aunt of Mr. Jyotiraditya, took oath. Whereas, nine new faces were inducted in the Council of Ministers.
Congratulating the new Ministers, Mr. Chouhan said on Twitter, “Besides overcoming present challenges, welfare for the poor and uplift of every section is our priority. We all will work in the interest of the public and the State.” Mr. Chouhan also met the Ministers and briefed them about the government’s decisions so far.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel had taken additional charge of Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday as incumbent Lalji Tandon is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Lucknow.
While congratulating the Ministers on their appointments on Twitter, Mr. Nath said he was also “sad at a personal level” to not find names of several “competent, experienced and sincere” BJP legislators in the Council of Ministers.
Further, he pointed out 14 Ministers were not even legislators. “This is a big mess up of democratic arrangements. A joke with the State’s people,” he added.