BHOPAL: Almost a month after Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as the 19th Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, the council of ministers were sworn in at the Raj Bhawan on Tuesday.
The Governor administered the oath of office and secrecy to a small team of five ministers, including two Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalists, who were among the 6 ministers and 22 Congress MLAs who resigned.
The five ministers sworn in on Tuesday, included Narottam Mishra (six time BJP MLA and ex minister from the Gwalior-Chambal region), Kamal Patel (five time BJP MLA, ex-minister from Central MP and considered close to former union minister Uma Bharti) and Meena Singh (BJP's five time tribal MLA considered close to state BJP chief VD Sharma).
Two other ministers were Scindia loyalists Tulsi Silawat (Health Minister in Kamal Nath government) and Govind Singh Rajput (Transport and Revenue minister in the Kamal Nath government).
The five ministers represented five different parts of MP including Bundelkhand, Central MP, Malwa-Nimar, Mahakoshal and Gwalior-Chambal region.
But the Vindhyan region, which gave BJP maximum seats in the 2018 assembly polls found no representation among the five strong council of ministers, possibly due to competitive politics between camps led by ex-minister Rajendra Shukla and Kedarnath Shukla.
The CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan tried to ensure a caste balance in the small team of ministers by choosing two ministers from general category (Narottam Mishra and Govind Singh Rajput), one from powerful OBC segment (Kamal Patel), one from scheduled caste category (Tulsi Silawat) and one from the scheduled tribe segment (Meena Singh).
Importantly, the CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been on opposition Congress's target for running a single man government since March 23 during the coronavirus pandemic crisis in the state with 1503 cases and 77 deaths.
According to sources within the BJP, the first expansion of the cabinet is likely to happen after May 3.
The resignations of Congress ministers and MLAs as Vidhan Sabha members last month had scripted the fall of the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government on March 20.