Shivraj, Scindia join Union Cabinet; Madhya Pradesh has five Ministers; two tribal MPs are Ministers of State

Virendra Kumar, a prominent Scheduled Caste face of the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, is retained; Faggan Singh Kulaste is dropped from the Union Cabinet

Updated - June 10, 2024 06:50 am IST

Published - June 10, 2024 05:44 am IST - Bhopal

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan takes the oath of office as Cabinet Minister during the oath-taking ceremony administered by President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on June 9, 2024.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan takes the oath of office as Cabinet Minister during the oath-taking ceremony administered by President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on June 9, 2024. | Photo Credit: AFP

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia were among the three BJP leaders from the State who were sworn in as Cabinet Ministers in the third National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Also Read: Narendra Modi sworn in PM for third term; 72-member NDA Ministry takes charge

The other leader who became a Cabinet Minister is Virendra Kumar, a prominent Dalit face of the BJP in the State and a consecutive eight-term MP.

Apart from the three Cabinet Ministers, the State also saw two tribal leaders — Savitri Thakur and Durga Das Uikey — taking oath as Ministers of State, both as first-time Ministers.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, Madhya Pradesh remained a BJP bastion and turned out to be one of the most successful States for the party as it won all 29 constituencies, up from 28 in 2019.  

Mr. Chouhan, the State’s longest-serving Chief Minister, returned to the Lok Sabha, winning from his traditional Vidisha constituency by a margin of more than 8.2 lakh votes. 

A prominent Other Backward Class (OBC) face and arguably the tallest BJP leader in Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Chouhan served as the CM from November 2005 to December 2023, barring a 15-month-period between 2018 and 2020 when the Congress was in power in the State. 

Mr. Chouhan, referred to as ‘mama (maternal uncle)’ by his supporters, was replaced by his former Cabinet colleague Mohan Yadav as the Chief Minister after the party stormed back to power in the State in last year’s Assembly election.  

Even though he was not declared as the chief ministerial face while going to the Assembly elections on the plank of collective leadership under Mr. Modi, Mr. Chouhan’s connect with the voters as well as his populist schemes, including the Ladli Behna Scheme, were credited as the reason for the party’s massive victory as it secured 163 out of 230 seats. 

While questions about his political future were raised following his removal as the CM, they were put to rest after he was fielded from Vidisha, and Mr. Modi said he wanted to take Mr. Chouhan to Delhi with himself. 

“Our brother Shivraj-ji is the candidate from Vidisha. We both used to work together in the organisation, we both were Chief Ministers. When Shivraj went to Parliament, we were working together as the general secretary of the party. Now I want to take him with me [to Delhi] once again,” the PM said at election rally in the State. 

A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker and a student leader since the 1970s, Mr. Chouhan began his political career in 1990, when he was chosen an MLA from his home Assembly segment of Budhni, which falls under the Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency. 

The next year, in 1991, he became an MP from Vidisha after the seat was vacated by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and went on to represent the seat until 2005, when he was chosen to lead the BJP’s State government, following the resignation of two CMs in two years — Uma Bharti, and Babulal Gaur.

Mr. Scindia was also retained in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. He regained his family bastion of the Guna Lok Sabha seat as a BJP candidate by over 5.4 lakh votes this time, a seat that he had lost in 2019 when he was with the Congress. 

Mr. Scindia had led a rebellion of 22 Congress MLAs in March 2020 and joined the BJP, bringing down the 15-month old State Government led by Kamal Nath at the time. 

He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, and served as the Minister of Civil Aviation in Mr. Modi’s previous government. 

Mr. Scindia had earlier won from Guna four consecutive times, starting with the 2002 byelections following his father and former Union Minister Madhavrao Scindia’s death. Having now returned to the Lok Sabha, he is likely to give up his membership to the Rajya Sabha.

Mr. Kumar has also retained his place in the central Cabinet.

Mr. Kumar, who won the Tikamgarh (Scheduled Caste reserved) Lok Sabha seat for the fourth straight term since its formation in 2009, had earlier represented the Sagar constituency for four terms. 

In Mr. Modi’s second term, Mr. Kumar was the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment since 2021.

Mr. Uikey, BJP MP from Betul (ST) Lok Sabha, and Ms. Thakur, representing Dhar (ST) seat, also joined the central Government as Ministers of State.

Ms. Thakur first won from Dhar in 2014 but was not fielded in 2019. This time, she won from the constituency by over two2 lakh votes. 

Mr. Uikey won from Betul for the second consecutive time by a margin of more than 3.75 lakh votes.

The induction of two tribal faces reflects the party’s ongoing outreach to the community and the support the BJP has received from them in the State. 

While Mr. Scindia and Mr. Kumar were part of the previous government, the three new faces replace former Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Singh Patel, and tribal leader Faggan Singh Kulaste. 

The three leaders were fielded by the party as candidates in the last year’s Assembly election. While Mr. Tomar is now the State Assembly Speaker, Mr. Patel is a State Cabinet Minister. 

Even though Mr. Kulaste had lost the Assembly election from the Niwas segment of his Mandla Lok Sabha, he was again fielded by the party in the parliamentary election. 

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