BHOPAL: Nearly 22 days have passed since the results of the by-elections were declared, but the Cabinet expansion is yet to take place. The main reason for the delay in Cabinet expansion is a tug-of-war among the ministers over departments.
Two ministers — Tulsi Silawat and Govind Rajput — had to quit the Cabinet, as the by-elections were not held within six months of their resignation from the Congress. Both the former Congress legislators defected to the BJP, which led to the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government. They expected that they would be sworn in just after the bypoll results were out. Their supporters are worried as they have not been sworn even after such a long time has passed since the announcement of the bypoll results.
Bone of contention
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s trip to Delhi on Tuesday indicates that the Cabinet expansion will soon take place. Both Chouhan and Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia held talks over the induction of Silawat and Rajput into the Cabinet again. According to sources, the Chief Minister, as well as the BJP organization, does not want to give back the transport department to Rajput. The BJP wants that the department be given to someone loyal to the organisation.
Chouhan has reportedly agreed with the party’s opinion. The name of Jagdish Devda is on top of the list of aspirants for the job. If there is no agreement on Devra, the party is ready to give the department to anyone from the Scindia faction. But the party organisation wants to remove Rajput from the transport department.
Chouhan has informed the national president of the party, JP Nadda, about it. Nonetheless, both Scindia and Rajput are not ready for any change. According to sources, Scindia is adamant on his supporters getting back the departments they had.
Sources said Cabinet expansion was getting delayed as Scindia was not ready to accept the proposal for a change of department of any of his supporters. Nonetheless, after Chouhan’s trip to Delhi, both Silawat and Rajput have again become hopeful of being sworn in soon. A date for Cabinet expansion is yet to be fixed.
Apart from the departments of Rajput and Silawat, Chouhan also wants to change the ministries of his other Cabinet colleagues. Chouhan wishes to give departments to ministers according to their capabilities. A change of departments will also have an impact on Scindia supporters in the Cabinet. For this reason, there is no accord on the issue.