BHOPAL : Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan will expand his council of ministers after the by- polls, scheduled to be held in three constituencies of the state. Chauhan has started preliminary discussion on cabinet expansion.

Polling would take place in Bahoribandh, Vijayraghogarh and Agar constituencies on August 21 and the results would be announced on August 25. Sources maintain that Chauhan, in the beginning of September, may induct new members in his ministry and there may be changes in the portfolios of present ministers.

Sanjay Pathak, BJP candidate from Vijayraghogarh seat, joined the party after quitting the Congress during the Lok Sabha elections. Sources said if Pathak wins, he will be inducted into the cabinet and that is why cabinet expansion has been put off till after the by- polls.

Currently, Chauhan ministry has 19 cabinet ministers and 4 ministers of state ( MoS). Sources said Ministers Bhupendra Singh, Rampal Singh and Umashankar Gupta may be given key departments in the cabinet expansion.

Chauhan after coming to power did not give place to some of his former ministers in his cabinet. Sources said Archana Chitnis and Tukojirao Puar are also keen on becoming ministers and their efforts might prove successful this time.

Some senior MLAs may be also be given place in the ministry. The upcoming urban bodies’ elections, scheduled to be held in December, are said to be reason behind cabinet expansion as Chauhan wants to strengthen the BJP in urban areas.

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