Amid reports of heartburn in the BJP over the recent expansion of Madhya Pradesh cabinet, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday refused to commit any timeline for allocation of portfolios to the 28 new ministers, who took oath on July 2.
Mr Chouhan had recently visited New Delhi to meet top BJP officials reportedly to discuss the political intricacies pertaining to the issue.
“I am working on it…distribution will take place soon,” said the Chief Minister, who reached Bhopal from Delhi, when asked by reporters on the timeline for allocation of ministries.
Speculation was that allocation of portfolios would take place on Tuesday.
The induction of 28 ministers, including a dozen loyalists of Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose exit from the Congress in March led to the fall of the 15-month-old Kamal Nath-led regime in the state, had apparently caused heartburn among a section of senior BJP leaders, who were left out of the new ministry.
BJP MLA Ajay Vishnoi had last week shot off a letter to the Chief Minister stating that there was resentment among the people of Jabalpur and Rewa divisions.
The new ministers include 20 of cabinet rank and eight ministers of state. The Shivraj Chouhan ministry”sstrength is now 34.
Reacting to the development, former Chief Minister Kamal Nath said in Ujjain, “the government and the Cabinet were formed through a bargain. Now portfolios too will be allocated through bargaining”.
Mr Nath visited the famous temple of Lord Mahakal in Ujjain before leaving for Badnawar to launch the Congress’s campaign for the 24 assembly bypolls.
The bypolls were necessitated due to resignation of 22 MLAs of the Congress who joined the BJP along with Jyotiraditya Scindia. Two more seats are vacant due to death of sitting legislators.
The Election Commission is yet to announce schedule for the by-elections.
The initial mini expansion of the state cabinet had taken place on April 21 with the induction of five ministers, almost a month after Shivraj Chouhan took oath as the Chief Minister for a record fourth term.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)