By Sandeep Pouranik
Bhopal, June 30 (IANS) The BJP is finding itself in a predicament over the proposed expansion of the council of ministers in Madhya Pradesh due to pulls and pressures over the finalisation of names of prospective inductees and allocation of portfolios.
A day earlier, IANS had reported that the intra-party discussions on the Cabinet expansion were in the final stages and the BJP sources had claimed that the expansion could be effected in a day or two.
Whenever it takes place, the expansion would be the second in the council of ministers in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, which regained power in the state over three months ago.
At present, apart from Chouhan, there are five ministers in the state.
The Assembly session is slated to be held in July and as per constitutional requirements, a minimum of 12-member council of ministers has to be in place by then.
The sources said that Chouhan remained in Delhi for two days along with Madhya Pradesh BJP chief Vishnu Dutt Sharma and organisation general secretary Suhas Bhagat to discuss the issue with the central leadership but to no avail.
The party sources said that BJP Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia wanted at least 6-7 ministers of his choice, whereas the party wanted to appoint as ministers 10 of the 22 Congress MLAs who resigned from the Congress to join the ruling party in Madhya Pradesh.
The sources said that Scindia was backing former minister Imarti Devi, Pardyuman Singh Tomar, Prabhuram Choudhary, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon, Ranvir Jatav and OPS Bhadoria for inclusion in the council of ministers.
He was allegedly not in favour of appointing Aidal Singh Kansana, Bisahulal Singh, and Hardeep Singh Dang from his quota.
Former Congress MLAs Govind Singh Rajput and Tulsiram Silawat have already been made Ministers in the state government.
Scindia also wanted one of the home, transport and revenues departments, apart from higher education, child and women welfare, food and civil supplies, public relations, and rural development portfolios for ministers appointed from his quota.
Scindia had voiced his choices during a meeting with the Chief Minister on Monday.
On the other hand, Chouhan was said to have assured Bisahulal and Dang of ministerial posts for resigning from the Congress, while Home Minister Narottam Mishra has been backing Kansana.
The BJP sources said that with two ministers already appointed from among the former Congress MLAs, Scindia’s backing for seven candidates and three others who were front runners, there was pressure to appoint 12 ministers in total, which could reduce the BJP quota in the council of ministers.
Since the BJP has senior and experienced MLAs, the situation has created headache for the party and there would be no surprise if the proposed expansion is postponed for now.
Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh Congress mocked the delay in the expansion of the council of ministers, saying that the government was not able to “divide the area” among the ministers.
Political analyst Ravinder Vyas said that it was a devil-and-the-deep-sea situation for Chouhan and the BJP. He pointed out that they needed to keep the MLAs who had crossed over from the Congress in good humour while taking care not to leave their own lawmakers dissatisfied.
Chouhan returned to the state capital Bhopal on Tuesday morning after a two-day stay in Delhi, during which he held discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, and Scindia.