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Cabinet Expansion Imminent, CM Shivraj Has Tough Task of Balancing Equations Ahead of MP Bypolls

File photo of Madhya Pradesh CM and senior BJP leader  Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

File photo of Madhya Pradesh CM and senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Cabinet expansion appears imminent as President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday evening issued an order giving Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel additional charge of Madhya Pradesh, given Governor Lalji Tandon's health condition.

Vivek Trivedi
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Ahead of the highly anticipated cabinet expansion in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to seek his approval on the list of ministers to be inducted into his cabinet.

Cabinet expansion appears imminent as President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday evening issued an order giving Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel additional charge of Madhya Pradesh in view of Governor Lalji Tandon's deteriorating health condition.

Meanwhile, Shivraj Singh Chouhan who reached New Delhi on Sunday, called on senior party leaders including Narendra Singh Tomar, executive president JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah. Chouhan, however, again met with Shah on Monday morning.

It's believed that Chouhan had, in these meetings, finalised a list of new entrants to his Cabinet. Final nod on the same is expected to be given by the Prime Minister who Chouhan meets at 4 pm on Monday.

With a long list of cabinet aspirants in the BJP's state unit, Chouhan had a mammoth task cut out, where he also had to ensure that a balance among caste, regional and factional equations is maintained.

Former Congress MLAs, who had helped BJP topple Kamal Nath government, are expected to walk away with the lion’s share of the cabinet berths. Two of them — Tulsiram Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput, are already in Shivraj's cabinet. Others, including Imarti Devi, Aidal Singh Kansana, Pradyumn Singh Tomar, Mahendra Sisodia, Rajyawardhan Singh Dattigaon and senior MLA Bisahulal Singh are expected to be brought on board.

Other leaders being considered are — firebrand leader Rameshwar Sharma and Vishwas Sarang from Bhopal, Arvind Singh Bhadauria, one of the chief architects of political coup, along with Yashodhara Raje Scindia from Gwalior, Shardendu Tiwari and Ramlallu Vaish from Vindhya region. Usha Thakur and Malini Gaud from Indore, Gopal Bhargav, Bhupendra Singh and Harishankar Khatik from Bundelkhand, Ajay Vishnoi, Sanjay Pathak and Devi Singh Sayyam from Mahakaushal region, Mohan Yadav, Vijay Shah or Chetan Kashyap from Malwa-Nimar region are other names that are being considered.

At present, there are five ministers in Shivraj's cabinet and excluding the chief minister, his government could have at most 33 ministers. Going by this figure, he has 28 places to fill. Sources claimed that earlier, CM Shivraj was planning to accommodate 20-22 ministers in his cabinet but given the frequent tussle in the party for ministerial berths, he opted to take in 24-25 new entrants.

The cabinet expansion assumes significance as bypolls for 24 Assembly seats are due in the state. These bypolls will decide on whose favour the power shifts given that the ruling party has a delicate majority in the state Assembly.

The cabinet expansion is expected to take place on June 30. Sources also said that Chouhan will also address the media at MP Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.

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