Small formation with necessary containment measures
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is likely to constitute his cabinet on Tuesday afternoon, almost a month after he was sworn-in for the fourth time. Sources said it would be a small formation of not more than six members with necessary containment measures to pacify the Scindia faction. Jyotiradiya Scindia had recently joined BJP.
A senior official said the ministers would take oath at 12 noon on Tuesday in a simple function in presence of certain selected BJP leaders and bureaucrats. He said.
“There was no talk about the formation of the cabinet till night but some development took place late night and we were informed about the cabinet formation and ministers taking oath on Tuesday,”
A BJP leader familiar with developments said,
“There may not be more than 5 to 6 ministers initially. The cabinet may be expanded later when lockdown restrictions are lifted on May 3.”
The possible names doing rounds in political circles include Narottam Mishra, Kamal Patel, Meena Singh, Tulsi Silawat and Govind Rajput. Tulsi Silawat and Govind Rajput are from Scindia faction, who had resigned from the state assembly, leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath government earlier in March.
Chouhan took oath as the chief minister on March 23. Since then he was facing constant flak from the Opposition and on social media for running his government without a cabinet and working particularly without a health minister while the COVID-19 situation continued to worsen in the state. Chouhan a few days ago had tweeted that cabinet formation would be done soon after discussion with party high command.
When Chouhan assumed office, coronavirus was rearing its head in the state with only seven cases registered in two districts. But in the span of about 29 days, the state has registered as many as 1,485 COVID-19 positive cases with 76 of them dead and as many as 26 of the total 52 districts affected.
Madhya Pradesh has emerged as one of the worst managed states in the country during the period, and Chouhan has blamed previous Congress government for the present situation in the state. Indore has emerged as one of the major COVID-19 hotspots in the country, prompting the central government to send a team on Monday to the city to assess and manage the situation.
Senior Congress leader and former leader of the Opposition Ajay Singh April 10 said,
“To become a one-man army chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan put in peril lives of 7.50 crore people of Madhya Pradesh. The CM is busy in his branding and publicity instead of protecting people of the state from Corona. In Madhya Pradesh situation is going from bad to worse.”
Also, Congress’ Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha in a letter to the President of India urged him to impose a President’s rule in the state if Chouhan fails to constitute his cabinet. He wrote again to the President, jointly with senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Monday to reiterate his demand.