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Shivraj Cabinet Set to Expand for 3rd Time on Sunday, Comeback on Cards for Two Scindia Loyalists

File photo of Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

File photo of Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The cabinet expansion is expected to take place around 12.30 pm on Sunday.

The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh cabinet will be expanded on January 3, an official said on Friday. This is the third expansion of the state cabinet after Chouhan took over as the chief minister for the fourth term in March 2020.

The cabinet expansion is expected to take place around 12.30 pm on Sunday, the official said. After that, the newly-appointed Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, Justice Mohammad Rafiq, will take oath around 3 pm, he added.

Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel, who is holding the additional charge of Madhya Pradesh will administer the oath of office to the new ministers and the chief justice. Rafiq is currently the chief justice of Orissa High Court and was transferred in the same capacity to the MP High Court on December 31.

The talks of the cabinet expansion started gaining ground soon after the results of the bypolls to 28 Assembly seats held on November 3. While the BJP had won 19 of those seats, the opposition Congress had bagged nine. This increased the BJP's strength in the 230-member House to 126, while the Congress's tally became 96.

Out of the 19 winners of the ruling BJP, 15 were those who had quit the Congress following a similar move by senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who later joined the saffron party. Two Scindia loyalists Tulsiram Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput, who were in the cabinet and were forced to resign on technical grounds in the run-up to the by-polls as the mandatory six months period to get elected to the state Assembly got over for them after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the elections. Both of them are likely to make a comeback to the cabinet.

Three incumbent ministers- Aidal Singh Kansana, Imarti Devi and Girraj Dandotiya- had lost the bypolls, due to which they have to quit the cabinet.

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