Shivraj Chouhan Cabinet Expansion Today, To Include Scindia Camp: Sources

Jyotiraditya Scindia's camp, which pulled down teh Kamal Nath government with their defection in March, has demanded 11 berths in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan ministry

Shivraj Singh Chouhan had a series of meetings in Delhi over the week-end.

Bhopal:

Nine to 10 loyalists of Jyotiraditya Scindia will be among the 26 to 28 ministers who would take oath in Shivraj Singh Chouhan's government in Madhya Pradesh today, sources told NDTV. It is also likely that a section of Mr Chouhan's loyalists will not find place in the expanded cabinet, sources said, indicating that the Chief Minister has been unable to carry his point with the central leadership.

The oath will be administered at 11 am by Anandiben Patel, the Uttar Pradesh Governor who has been given additional charge of Madhya Pradesh.

"Manthan se toh amrit hi nikalta hai, vish toh Shiv pee jaatein hain (churning only yields nectar, the poison is drunk by Shiv)," Mr Chouhan said on Wednesday. In political circles, the statement is seen as an admission that the expanded cabinet might not include ministers, whom he wanted in his team.

It is expected that Mr Chouhan's old loyalists, including former ministers Rampal Singh and Rajendra Shukla will not find place in the expanded cabinet, sources said.

New faces like Ramesh Mendola and Usha Thakur (both from Indore), Dr Mohan Yadav (Ujjain), Prem Singh Patel (Barwani), Yashpal Singh Sisodiya (Mandsaur), Kunwar Singh Tekam (Dhauhani) and Ram Khelawan Patel (Amarpatan-Satna) could be included, they added.

The cabinet expansion has been pending since March. The government, which can accommodate upto 28 ministers, has been functioning with five ministers since mid-April. Even they were inducted nearly a month after the Chief Minister took oath in March.

The delay -- which officially has been attributed to coronavirus and the Rajya Sabha election -- is linked more to disagreements over how ministry berths will be divided between the BJP and the former Congressmen who joined the party along with Jyotiraditya Scindia in March, pulling down the Congress government led by Kamal Nath.

Mr Scindia's camp has demanded 11 berths -- two of them have already been allotted during the last round of cabinet expansion, sources said.

But allotting nine more seats to them may cause dissent in the BJP camp, with leaders not ready to accommodate the newcomers. The Chief Minister also has reservations about the matter, sources said, being keen on his old team.

This also caused a rift between him and the Central leaders of the party, which wanted induction of new faces, sources said. The Chief Minister spent the week-end in Delhi, hoping to get everyone on the same page.

The Central leadership is also miffed with Mr Chouhan for other reasons -- including the GST raids in Indore, sources said. Questions are also being raised on officers closed to Mr Chouhan calling the tax fraud accused gutkha King Kishore Wadhwani, and the fiasco during Rajya Sabha polls, where a BJP MLA cross-voted.