As the dust of by-polls has settled, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has a fresh challenge to keep its cadres satisfied, especially the Congress turncoats.
One of the ministers, Aidal Singh Kansana, a former Congressman, resigned soon after defeating in the by-elections. Two Scindia loyalists – Imarti Devi and Girraj Dandotiya – are yet to resign from the cabinet, despite their losses in the just concluded by-polls from Dabra and Dimni, respectively.
Devi, after her loss, had publically claimed that she will continue to be a minister, a claim which is yet to be challenged by the party. Party insiders say that those who lost shall be accommodated in boards and corporations.
Besides, both the ministers could serve in cabinet till Dec 31, to complete their six-months-period without being an MLA, but later they had to resign as there is no chance of them returning to assembly.
Besides, two former ministers, both Scindia aides, Tulsiram Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput, too, are awaiting their return to the cabinet as they had resigned in October after completion of six months.
Both have won with sizable votes and are strong claimants of a berth in cabinet.
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta demanded resignation from Devi and Dandotiya on moral grounds saying their continuance in the cabinet will be a disrespect to democracy.
Ministry of State Bharat Singh Kushwah told News18 that the BJP was a vast organisation and “everyone working as a party worker and those who lost will be assigned key responsibility in party and government.”
Further, several others are also demanding regional balance in the run-up to by-polls and the Gwalior-Chambal region had pocketed lion’s share on key posts.
Senior MLA, who left the Congress to join the BJP early this year, Bisahulal Singh has openly staked claim to the Assembly Speaker’s post. Singh on Monday told media that “if the people of Vindhya wishes for the speaker’s post, the BJP government should fulfill it.”
Former minister Ajay Vishnoi, too, backed Singh and said that there should be regional balance in the government while keeping an eye on 2023 assembly polls. Vishnoi, who himself is a claimant for the speaker’s post, has denied his claim, saying that he believes in 360 days working and not in 60-days-annual work.
Meanwhile, Rajendra Shukl, the BJP’s prominent face from the Vindhya region and also a claimant for a ministerial berth, said that CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan will take a call on the cabinet expansion. He also dubbed Bisahulal Singh’s remarks as his personal opinion.
Amid speculations over cabinet expansion, the Chief Minister had clarified that this is not due in near future, fuelling more unease among claimants.
After the resignations of two ministers last month and the loss of three others in the by-polls, there are five vacant places in the Shivraj cabinet, including Scindia loyalists and BJP seniors, the number of claimants is outnumbering the vacant berths.