BHOPAL: Twenty-five days after Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as Madhya Pradesh chief minister, the Council of Ministers remains elusive for the state which has recorded around 1,300 Corona positive cases and 60-plus deaths.
Faced with criticism from the opposition over the state not having a Cabinet, especially a health minister, despite the COVID situation reaching alarming proportions, Chouhan maintains that the Cabinet isn’t being formed as his government’s priority is to battle the infection.
But insiders within the ruling BJP confided to TNIE that the complex task of accommodating all ministerial aspirants from the core BJP as well as MLAs of the Jyotiraditya Scindia camp — particularly six ministers of the erstwhile Kamal Nath government — could be another factor for the delay in the Cabinet formation.
Scindia has reportedly spoken to BJP’s former national president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah twice in last three-four days in Delhi and discussed possibilities for the formation of a Cabinet and inclusion of his loyalists.
The talks have triggered speculations that the Cabinet formation is likely to happen within the next few days.
Informed sources within the BJP said the initial plan was to have a 25-plus Cabinet, but it could take shape with 10-12 ministers for now.
Three to four ministers could be Scindia loyalists, despite their leader pressing for more than five.
Chouhan faces a tough task in addressing ministerial aspirations of BJP’s provincial leaders such as Narottam Mishra and those from Malwa-Nimar, Bundelkhand and Vindhya region.
Then, there are senior leaders including Gopal Bhargava, Rajendra Shukla, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Gourishankar Bisen and Bhupendra Singh, besides other BJP MLAs like Arvind Bhadoria to be considered.
According to the sources, the Cabinet could follow the UP model with Narottam Mishra from the BJP and Tulsi Silawat, the health minister in the Congress government, as deputy CMs. A BJP spokesperson, however, maintained that the delay has nothing to do with politics.