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Scindia supporters bag plum portfolios in Shivraj Singh Chouhan Ministry

New beginnings: Anandiben Patel, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the Cabinet Ministers at the swearing-in ceremony. A.M.Faruqui  

Ten days after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expanded his Council of Ministers, portfolios were distributed on Sunday night with key departments such as the Public Health and Family Welfare and the Panchayat and Rural Development being secured by supporters of Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia.

The letter containing the portfolio distribution addressed to Governor Anandiben Patel by Mr. Chouhan, made public on Monday morning, shows he has retained the General Administration, the Public Relations, the Narmada Valley Development and the Aviation Departments.

While Narottam Mishra will continue to head the Home Department in addition to new responsibilities of the Jail, the Parliamentary Affairs and the Law and Legislative Affairs Departments, the Public Health and Family Welfare Department that he helmed since April 21, when five Ministers were appointed, has been handed over to Prabhuram Choudhary, a supporter of Mr. Scindia. He served as the School Education Minister in the former Congress government.

Among his other supporters, former Ministers in the Kamal Nath government Tulsiram Silawat secured the Water Resources and the Fisherman Welfare and Fisheries Development Departments; Govind Singh Rajput the Revenue and the Transport Departments; Imarti Devi the Women and Child Development Department; Pradhuman Singh Tomar the Energy Department; and Mahendra Singh Sisodiya the Panchayat and Rural Development Department. Another supporter Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon bagged the Industrial Policy and Investment Promotion Department.

Among other Congress MLAs who had resigned alongside 19 supporters of Mr. Scindia in March, Hardeep Singh Dang secured the New and Renewable Energy and the Environment Departments; Bisahulal Singh the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department; and Aidal Singh Kansana the Public Health Engineering Department.

Besides the seven Cabinet Ministers, four Scindia supporters were appointed on July 2 as Ministers of State in the 34-member Council of Ministers, including the Chief Minister. In addition, seven Ministers who held portfolios in the previous BJP regime and nine new faces from the party have been allocated portfolios.

Veteran BJP leaders Jagdish Devda bagged the Commercial Tax, the Finance and the Planning, Economic and Statistics Department; Yashodhara Raje the Sports and Youth Welfare, the Technical Education and the Skill Development and Employment Departments; and Gopal Bhargava the Public Works and the Cottage and Rural Industries Departments.

In March, 22 Congress MLAs resigned precipitating the fall of the 15-month Kamal Nath government. Later, they joined the BJP along with Mr. Scindia and 14 of them are Ministers now. After taking oath in March, Mr. Chouhan ran a single-man Cabinet for nearly a month before another five Ministers were appointed.

Seven Ministers who support Mr. Scindia had won on a Congress ticket in the 2018 Vidhan Sabha election from the Gwalior-Chambal region, a stronghold of the Scindias, where 16 seats lie vacant.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 2:37:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/scindia-supporters-bag-plum-portfolios-in-shivraj-singh-chouhan-ministry/article32063226.ece

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