CM Chouhan confirms cabinet expansion on Thursday

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Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday affirmed that he will expand his Cabinet on Thursday, after several delays and days of speculation.

“The Governor will be sworn in today (Wednesday) and the cabinet expansion shall take place on Thursday,” he told reporters after attending an event on Coronavirus prevention in Bhopal.

Chouhan returned to Bhopal on Tuesday after staying in Delhi for two days, discussing the cabinet expansion. More than three months have passed since the BJP government was formed in the state. Cabinet expansion has been under discussion for a long time. Only five ministers were sworn in after the chief minister took oath.

On the prolonged deliberations on the names of ministers to be inducted in his cabinet, Chouhan offered a cryptic response, alluding to the stiff internal tussle for ministerial berths as there were a large numbers of claimants from Jyotiraditya Scindia camp which led to discontent among senior BJP leaders.

“Manthan ke baad amrit hi nikalta hai, jo Vish nikalta hai Shiv usse pe jate hain” (churning brings forth nectar but Lord Shiva drinks the poison), said Chouhan, hinting that he had to endure a lot of pressure while zeroing in on the names of his cabinet colleagues.

Sources said that Scindia was adamant on including all his supporters while the BJP state unit wanted to bring this number down to accommodate their senior leaders.

Several BJP senior leaders, too, were upset with plans to shift them to party organisation. Leaders like Gopal Bhargav had expressed their resentment openly, cautioning the party that ignoring senior leaders during cabinet expansion won’t be a good idea.

Chouhan on Tuesday had tweeted an Urdu couplet to hint that all wasn’t being done as per his wish when it comes to cabinet expansion.

Sources also said that the party high command, too, has added several names into the list of ministers to be inducted into the Shivraj cabinet whereas the state unit wanted them to be dropped from the list.

After confirmation of the cabinet expansion, Scindia’s office announced that he would reach Bhopal on Thursday morning. His arrival plans were postponed twice in last two days.

According to the sources at least ten Scindia loyalists are slated to be inducted into the Shivraj cabinet out of the 25 that are likely to be sworn in.

The party high command has cleared the names of ministers on Wednesday and party state in-charge Vinay Sahastrabuddhe will reach Bhopal with the list by evening. “No one is upset, all is well in the party,” said Sahastrabuddhe.

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