BJP leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan, VD Sharma, Gopal Bhargava and others celebrate after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath resigned from his post, at state party headquarters in Bhopal, Friday, March 20, 2020. File Photo
BJP leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan, VD Sharma, Gopal Bhargava and others celebrate after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath resigned from his post, at state party headquarters in Bhopal, Friday, March 20, 2020. File Photo
Photo: PTI

When the whole world is under the grip of the corona pandemic, the Rajya Sabha elections are of no spare. Counting to the government-induced pandemic in the country, the Rajya Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh were postponed.

Scheduled to be held on March 20, the elections were held on June 19, in which BJP bagged 2 out of 3 seats while 1 fell in the lap of Congress.

The by-elections for the 24 seats, which were left void by the shift of Jyotiraditya Scindia and 22 other of his loyalist, is still to be held.

The state has 230 constituencies of which 35 are reserved for Scheduled Caste while 47 are for the candidates of Scheduled Tribes.

Party Members

Bharatiya Janata Party 107

Indian National Congress 92

Independent 4

Bahujan Samaj Party 2

Samajwadi Party 1

Vacant 24

Total 230

Counting to the political turmoil in Madhya Pradesh, Congress leader and four-time Parliamentarian Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from the party which lead to the fall of the Kamal Nath government in the state. Following it, 19 MLAs loyal to Scindia also followed his path and handed resignation.

The Congress, which had won 114 seats in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections in 2018, had formed the government with the support of four independent MLAs and two BSP MLAs, taking their tally to 120. However, the shift of the MLAs landed Congress in dire situation. Civil Supplies Minister Pradyumna Singh Tomar; Health Minister Tulsi Ram Silawat; Women and Child Development Minister Imarti Devi; Labour Minister Mahendra Singh Sisodia; Revenue Minister Govind Singh Rajput; School Education Minister Prabhuram Chaudhari; Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon; Girraj Dandotiya; Raksha Saroniya; Jaswant Jatav; Suresh Dhakad; Jaipal Singh Jajji; Brajendra Yadav; OPS Bhadoria; Kamlesh Jatav; Munnalal Goyal; Raghuraj Kansana; Hardeep Singh Dang; and Ranvir Jatav were the Scindia loyalists who left the party along with him.

However, two of them, Premchand Guddu along with Balendu Shukla, who were the members of BJP in Madhya Pradesh defected to the Opposition camp.

After the fall of the Kamal Nath government, the state witnessed a bypoll on as many as 25 seats.

Among them, 22 were left void by the rebel Congress leaders, apparently, the Scindia loyalists, who turned saffron along with Scindia. Most of the hailed from the Gwalior-Chambal region. Death of Jaura MLA Banwarilal Sharma also created a vacancy. Two seats held by the BJP also fell vacant - one due to death of Manohar Untwal and another after the Speaker accepted MLA Sharad Kol’s resignation.

Looking at the situation of the state, it was obvious that MP would witness many simultaneous by-elections in the coming time. A political observer had then said. “It’s unprecedented that it may be converted into a mid-term election by the next government. Even if the BJP is able to win 15 out of 25 seats, they won’t have a comfortable majority. It wont be strange if the BJP leadership decides to recommend dissolution of the House to pave way for a fresh elections.”

The 25 vacant seats were seen in maze as far as results were concerned. Congress, which has 23 of the 25 seats slated to go for by-polls as of now, had won only six seats in 2013 and nine in 2008. BSP clinched one in 2013 and two in 2008. Among the reserved seats, eight are for SCs and one for STs.

The initial 'mini' expansion of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s cabinet took place on April 21 with the induction of five ministers, nearly a month after Chouhan took oath as the chief minister for a record fourth term. The five ministers who 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.

Now after the by-polls, Bharatiya Janata Party is taking every step with caution about the ministry expansion.

The party leaders have girded up their loins to quell the flames of anger among those leaders who will not be inducted into the cabinet.

Some old names have also been dropped after brainstorming with top BJP leaders in Bhopal. But, the national leadership will take a final decision on that. As per the discussion, former ministers Gopal Bhargava, Bhupendra Singh, Rampal Singh, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Rajendra Shukla, Gourishankar Bisen, Jagdish Deora, Girish Gautam or Kedar Shukla may get a berth in the cabinet from Vindhya region.

MLAs Sanjay Pathak, Arvind Bhadoria, Rameshwar Sharma, and Vishwas Sarang are also expected to get a berth in the cabinet, which played a key role during Operation Lotus. Usha Thakur or Ramesh Mendola can stand from Indore. Apart from this, Lalluram Vaishya, Nina Verma, Ramkhilavan Patel, Prem Singh Patel, Surendra Patel and former minister Harishankar Khatik are also in the list of contenders.

From Scindia camp, Imrati Devi, Pradyuman Singh Tomar, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, and Prabhuram Chaudhary are fixed, as these people were also ministers in the past. Apart from this, Rajyavardhan Singh Dattigaon, Ranveer Singh Jatav, Bisahulal Singh, Aindal Singh Kanshana and Hardeep Singh Dung are also contenders.

Senior leaders have given the responsibility to deal with such a situation. The Congress has been keeping an eye on the ministry expansion to pull off benefits from the resentment in rival party in the by-elections. The level of fury may be high among the leaders from the Vindhya region from where Rajendra Shukla is sure to become a minister.

Apart from Rajendra Shukla, Kedar Shukla, Girish Gautam, Ramlallu Vaish, Jugal Kisnore Bagri, Nagendra Singh Gudh, Nagendra Singh Nagaud and Ramkhilawan Patel are aspiring for ministerial berths. But it is not possible to make all of them ministers.

Elaborating the selections, the Bundelkhand region is already represented by Govind Rajput in the cabinet. Both Gopal Bhargava and Bhupendra Singh are all set to be in the ministry.

Besides, Harishanker Khatik, Brajendra Pratap Singh, Pradeep Laria, Shailendra Jain and Anil Jain want cabinet berths.

The organisational secretaries have been asked to keep them in good humour.

From Malwa region, Hardeep Singh Dang and Rajyawardhan Singh will be made ministers. Tulsi Silawat is already in the ministry.

Nevertheless, other aspirants for ministerial berths from the Malwa region are Ramesh Mendola, Usha Thakur, Malini Gaud, Omprakash Saklecha, Rajendra Pandey, Jagdish Devra, Yashpal Singh Sisodia and Chaitanya Kashyap.

Their resentment may harm BJP. Party's national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and other leaders have been asked to handle those leaders.

From Bhopal and Hoshangabad, Vishwash Sarang, Vishnu Khatri, Rameshwar Sharma, Surendra Patwa, Rampal Singh and Vijaypal Singh are expecting berths in the cabinet.

Organisation secretary Suhas Bhagat himself will do damage-control in this region. Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Prahlad Patel from Mahakaushal will take care of leaders who may not be inducted into the cabinet.

The BJP does not want Congress to reap benefits of anger among BJP legislators after the cabinet expansion.

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