The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh Cabinet was expanded on Sunday with the induction of two loyalists of BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose exit from the Congress in March last year triggered the fall of the 15-month-old Kamal Nath-led dispensation in the State.
Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office to Tulsiram Silawat and Govind Rajput, who returned to the Cabinet after a gap of over two months. With their induction, the strength of the State Cabinet went up to 31. The number of members in the Council of Ministers in M.P. cannot exceed 35.
During their brief oath-taking ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan, Mr. Chouhan, Protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma and several Cabinet Ministers were present. A public relations officer (PRO) from Raj Bhawan on Sunday said that the resignations of two other ministers, Imarti Devi and Girraj Dandotia, who lost the November 3 Assembly bypolls, have been accepted.
This is the third expansion of the State Cabinet since Mr. Chouhan took over as the Chief Minister for the fourth term in March 2020 after the collapse of the Congress government.
Mr. Silawat and Mr. Rajput had been inducted into the cabinet in April last year during its first expansion. However, they had to step down in October as they were not members of the State legislature because the coronavirus pandemic delayed the bypolls.
There is a provision that a non-MLA, who got inducted in the cabinet, should get elected to the State Assembly within six months. The second expansion of Mr. Chouhan’s Cabinet took place on July 2 last year with the induction of 28 ministers, including a dozen loyalists of Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The first expansion was held on April 21 last year wherein five ministers, including Mr. Silawat and Mr. Rajput, were inducted. The two were among the Congress MLAs who had resigned and joined the BJP with Mr. Scindia in March last year.
In the Assembly bypolls held in November, the BJP had won 19 out of the 28 seats, while the opposition Congress had bagged nine. Mr. Silawat and Mr. Rajput had won the bypoll from Sanver and Surkhi constituencies respectively.