The allocation of portfolios to newly inducted ministers appears to have emerged as a fresh headache for the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh.
On Saturday, two-time BJP MLA Rameshwar Sharma was appointed pro-tem Speaker by acting Governor Anandiben Patel. Earlier, Jagdish Devda had resigned from the post after his inclusion in the Madhya Pradesh cabinet.
Almost three days have passed but there is no indication of portfolio allocation amid reports of the Jyotiraditya Scindia camp exerting pressure for prominent ministries.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had no major say in the cabinet expansion as was visible in his ministerial choices and with the portfolio allocation getting stuck, it seems the party high command is required to step in to mediate.
According to sources, the Scindia camp is seeking most of the prominent departments, including school education, transport, tourism, women and child development, urban administration, health, general administration and others. However, Chouhan and his senior party colleagues are also in no mood to let go of these prominent ministries.
Two Scindia loyalists – Tulsiram Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput -- hold key departments of Water Resources and Food and Civil Supplies respectively.
Many claim that in order to avoid an internal tussle Chouhan has decided to leave the matter to the party high command and was scheduled to leave for New Delhi late on Saturday evening. Besides meeting party seniors, Chouhan is expected to hold a meeting with Scindia.
Sources claim the Scindia camp, which needs by-poll wins to keep their ministerial berths, plans to keep key ministries so as to keep their ministers visible ahead of by-elections. Out of the 33 ministers in the cabinet, 14 belong to the Scindia camp, including 11 of his loyalists and three others who had left Congress party with him.
State Assembly's Principal Secretary AP Singh on Saturday said the governor has appointed Sharma as the pro-tem speaker until the permanent speaker is chosen. Devda was made the pro-tem speaker after the resignation of previous speaker NP Prajapati.
However, Devda resigned on July 2 as he was included in the cabinet of the BJP government headed by Chief Minister
Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Sharma represents the Huzur seat of Bhopal district.