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2-min read

Senior Cong Leaders, Sulking Allies Could Figure in Kamal Nath's New List of Ministers

The move comes close on the heels of an emphatic defeat of the ruling Congress, which lost all 29 Lok Sabha seats, barring one (Nakul Nath in Chhindwara) in Madhya Pradesh.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:May 28, 2019, 5:05 PM IST
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Senior Cong Leaders, Sulking Allies Could Figure in Kamal Nath's New List of Ministers
File photo of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath.

Bhopal: Amid alleged threats from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Kamal Nath-led Congress government is planning to expand its cabinet, accommodate allies and offer a chance to some party men to be a part of the government.

The cabinet rejig is expected to take place in the first week of June.

The move comes close on the heels of an emphatic defeat of the ruling Congress, which lost all 29 Lok Sabha seats, barring one (Nakul Nath in Chhindwara) in Madhya Pradesh.

There have been frequent speculations that the BJP could intensify its efforts to join hands with Congress allies to topple the Kamal Nath government.

However, several senior BJP ministers, including former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, have rejected allegations of the saffron camp indulging in horse trading to woo Congress MLAs and bring down the state government.

Meanwhile, to keep his flock together, Nath could induct some senior party leaders who are said to be upset with their exclusion from the cabinet, along with sulking allies, comprising the BSP, SP and three independents.

They are BSP’s firebrand MLA Rambai Singh and former Congress leader Surendra Singh Thakur who had trounced senior BJP leader and the former minister Archana Chitnis in Burhanpur.

Some of the ministers who have failed to make an impact over the last few months of governance could also face the axe.

These include Lakhan Ghanghoria, Mahendra Sisodia, Harsh Yadav, Sukhdev Panse and Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist Pradyumn Singh Tomar.

Following the dismal show in the general election, the chief minister is expected to clip wings of Scindia loyalists and either Lakhan Singh Yadav or Imarti Devi could also be relieved from the cabinet to accommodate fresh faces.

Those likely to be included in the cabinet are BSP’s Rambai Singh and Sanjeev Singh Kushwah, SP’s lone MLA Rajesh Shukla, Congress MLA … and Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti national convener Heeralal Alawa, Congress rebel-turned-independent MLAs – Surendra Singh Thakur and Kedar Chidabhai Davar.

Alawa who claims to have a sizable backing in the tribal pockets of Malwa and Nimar was quite vocal over denial of cabinet berth last year.

Dissent kept brewing in the party as several junior MLAs were assigned with cabinet rank last year.

Besides, Rambai had recently alleged that she was being offered up to Rs 50 crore to withdraw support from the Congress government.

At present, Madhya Pradesh had 28 ministers — all of them with cabinet rank. Nath could accommodate six more ministers in his team.

Sources in the party claim the names of the new cabinet entrants are final and the CM would soon leave for Delhi to get a nod from the party high command.

Congress has 114 MLAs in the Madhya Pradesh assembly, and has the support of two BSP MLAs, one SP legislator and four independents, while the BJP has 109 MLAs.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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